Congratulations and Condolences: How to Celebrate and Commiserate

Thu, 07/16/2020 - 08:36
married in italy

In normal years, summer is a season of congratulations. Weddings abound, graduations fill up our weekend calendars, and the annual “baby boom” of summer newborns marks new beginnings for many families. In short, there is generally much to celebrate come the middle months of the year. 

Of course, in 2020 nothing is as is usually is, and as weddings are postponed, graduation ceremonies are canceled, and babies kept far from crowds of well-wishers, occasions to congratulate are starting to feel increasingly rare. In fact, as loved ones struggle with difficulties from job loss to bereavement, we find we are called upon to lend words of support and condolence. 

Whether you are celebrating a happy occasion or sharing the burden of loss, here’s how to express congratulations and condolences in Italian: 

Celebrating

There are many occasions in life to celebrate, from small victories at work and school to major life occasions like marriage and parenthood. Here are some ways to share the joy with friends and loved ones. 

General Congratulations
Congratulazioni   - Congratulazioni
Complimenti  - Well done
Bravo/a! or Bravissimo/a - Good job

Birthdays/Anniversaries/Special Occasions
Auguri/Auguroni - Best wishes, used for most special occasions
I nostri migliori auguri - Our best wishes (from a group of family, friends, or colleagues)
Buon compleanno - Happy birthday
Buon anniversario - Happy anniversary
Cento di questi giorni  - Many happy returns

Weddings
Evviva gli sposi!  - Long live the bride and groom!
Tanta felicità - To a happy future
Tanti auguri per una vita felice insieme - Best wishes for a happy life together
Auguri e figli maschi! - A somewhat outdated wish for many sons, today heard mostly in southern Italy and with a heavy dose of tongue-in-cheek irony.

Graduation (University)
Congratulazioni dottore – Congrats grad! (all university graduates earn the title dottore in Italy)

New Baby
– Tanti auguri alla nuova mamma e il nuovo papà  - Best wishes to the new mon and dad
– Auguroni al nuovo arrivato/a - Best wishes for the new arrival (male/female)

Commiserating

Though it may be more fun to celebrate happy times, it’s important to lend support in difficult times, as well. In times of disappointment, loss, and grief, a kind word can sometimes make all the difference. Show solidarity in Italian like this:

General Sympathy 
Mi dispiace - I’m sorry
Ci dispiace - We’re sorry
Mi/ci dispiace per l’accaduto or Mi/ci dispiace per quello che è successo - I’m/We’re sorry for what has happened

Death or Other Serious Loss
Condoglianze - My/our condolences
Mi dispiace tanto - I’m very sorry
Ci dispiace tanto - We’re very sorry

Expression of Support
Ti/Vi sono vicino/a - You/you all have my support
Ti/vi siamo vicini - You/you all have our support
Ci sono/Ci siamo per te - I/We are here for you
Puoi/Potete contare su di me/noi - You/You all can count on me/us

Acknowledgment of Sympathy and Support
Grazie per l’affetto dimostrato - Thank you for your affection.
Grazie per essermi/esserci stato/a vicino/a  - Thank you for supporting me/us.

Whether you have reason to celebrate or commiserate, we hope this will help express your feelings in Italian!