Nitȟá-aƞpétu Wašté Happy Birthday in Lakota by Matt Remle

Learn how to sing “Happy Birthday” in Lakota!

Traditionally, in Lakota/Dakota/Nakota a persons age was determined by the number of winters one had survived and not the actual date of birth that many of us now celebrate.  Winter months were, and are, extremely difficult in the Northern Plains.  Surviving a winter meant you lived through another year.

Asking “How old are you?”

Waníyetu nitóna hwó/he? (Literal translation “How many winters are you?”).

Waníyetu mašákpe. (Literal translation “I am six winters”).

Nitȟá-aƞpétu Wašté- Happy Birthday Song

While celebrating “birthdays” is a more recent phenomenon, it is something that most of us now celebrate.   At birthday gatherings, we are also likely to be singing the “Happy Birthday” song, so why not Lakota(ize) it?

Nitȟá-aƞpétu Wašté.  Nitȟá-aƞpétu Wašté

Nitȟá-aƞpétu Wašté.  Nitȟá-aƞpétu Wašté

Be sure to sing Nitȟá-aƞpétu Wašté at your next birthday gathering!

Posted by: Wakinyan Waanatan (Matt Remle)

Le miye nahan le micinksi e yelo.  Matt Remle and son Cante.

12 thoughts on “Nitȟá-aƞpétu Wašté Happy Birthday in Lakota by Matt Remle

  1. Hello thank you for this site. I’m Lakota Souix born and raised in Pine Ridge. Left when I was 12 to Seattle. I miss my culture and always wanted to speak fluent in Lakota. Do you know where I can cds or download content to start speaking in native again again?
    Thank you

  2. Nice thank you ! Can i download it ?
    I like to sent it to a lady friend for here birthday tomorrow…
    Thanks xxx Debby

  3. lol – I was surprised to hear this (‘traditional’)* version here; I’d done a quickie search after being led to this one first: [inserting link to follow]
    Any information on the included appreciated.
    I would love to know what IS the traditional marking of the passing of one’s birth anniversary, open to the possibility that there may be none… (just read an info-graphic about reaching your 18th Winter being a dreaded occasion for the Laota because the average life expectancy is 60 and preceded by possible societal persecutions (addiction, suicide, etc) … I’m hoping this was just click bait for a headline. Am hoping to hear a more balanced statement. or confirmation of same 😦

    *traditional in the western contemporary sense only! (a relatively brief history in truth)

    Link: The only info on it is as follows ~ The Lakota birthday song heard on KOYA FM, while driving through Martin, South Dakota on the Rosebud Reservation

    • Languages do in fact grow, adapt and change over time. Some very common words we use now like wasicu, sunkawakhan, and mazaska all were created in the last 100 years. Stagnant languages that do not evolve, die. That said, as we have posted before, we counted age by how many winters we lived through. An example, waniyetu ma zaptan would translate to “I am 5 winters old”

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