I consider myself a near-fluent Spanish speaker, having learned it primarly in Mexico. I have never heard the term "Enhorabuena" used there; of course, I realize that this doesn't mean that it isn't used. Is it commonly used across the Spanish-speaking world, or is limited to certain countries? If I wanted to say "Congratulations on buying this thing!" or "Congratulations on achieveing your goal!" does it sound ok to use "enhorabuena" or is "felicidades" better, for a world-wide audience?

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    I perfectly understand «enhorabuena» and I think it is more appropiate than «felicidades» in this context. However I would seldom use it and I'm not completely sure if everyone around me, particularly the younger generations, will understand it. Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 22:55
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    yo entiendo «enhorabuena» aunque la mayoria de las veces que la he escuchado a sido a personas mayores o en las novelas Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 1:17
  • Thanks all for your answers and comments. It's hard to pick an "answer" because I guess my question was asking more for an opinion than a definitive answer. Nonetheless, I will pick one answer. Thanks for the responses!
    – richardmtl
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 3:43
  • This is what I've found on Facebook recently: "Muchas Felicidades Plantel 56... Un saludos afectuoso al Profe. Luis Enrique. En hora buena Felicidades". The guy who posted this was not older than 20, living in Fortín de las Flores in the state of Veracruz ..
    – jadé
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 8:05
  • Enhorabuena is used in Puerto Rico.
    – Rusty
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 20:17

4 Answers 4


This is the first time I have ever heard of "Enhorabuena", but I did a little bit of research.

According to Spanish-Only.com

First all, there is a difference between the two. It’s a small difference, but there’s one. Second of all, you use felicidades when it’s someone’s birthday. Can you use enhorabuena as well? No! Don’t fall in the trap to use in this context. Also, when someone graduated or passed a test enhorabuena is used instead of felicidades. For the rest, you can use both words pretty much for the same things.

-Excerpt from Spanish-Only.com.

Some examples that Spanish-Only.com gave was:

  1. Tengo que darte la enhorabuena. (I must congratulate you.)
  2. ¡Enhorabuena!(Congratulations!)

Other sources:

Yahoo! Education (Define)

Congratulations: felicidades vs. felicitaciones from Spanish StackExchange. (Mentioned)


'Enhorabuena' is standard language usage in Spain. It is used mainly for personal achievements, while 'Felicidades' is more for something that has happened to you. So we use 'Enhorabuena' for a promotion, a degree, a marriage or a baby, while Felicidades for birthday, Christmas or winning the lotto.

Despite this, 'Enhorabuena' is receding and 'Felicidades' is seeing its usage increase.

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    Same here (Argentina)
    – leonbloy
    Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 14:08
  • Thanks for this reply, it was really instructive. I picked the other reply as the "answer" because of the links and references, but yours was a close second. :)
    – richardmtl
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 3:44
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    I'd add that enhorabuena is more formal and felicidades more informal. You can use enhorabuena to congratulate someone for a recent wedding, but you surely use felicidades if the person is close to you. Also you can use felicidades to congratulate someone for a new employ, but if it's not a close relative to you you surely will better use enhorabuena.
    – Bardo
    Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 13:52

In response to a geographical distribution, here in Chile it is absolutely not used. I have never said it nor heard it. It is very common in Spain. But if you use it in Chile, I think a certain percent of the population will understand you.

Always remember that Spanish varies from country to country, dictionary and main directives are in RAE. Different meanings for different regions are indicated there.

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    +1... why the downvote? I think it's good answer.
    – c.p.
    Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 20:40
  • Because my English is not good enough i guess. Anyway this is a Spanish Language exchange knowledge site, I am sure i can help on it. Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 21:45

At least in Mexico, we use "felicidades" to congratulate someone for something.

Despite almost anyone would understand if you say "enhorabuena", it just sounds weird.

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