How can I say happy birthday in Italian, when I missed the initial date and therefore am late to congratulate?

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    Welcome on ItalianSE! – abarisone Nov 30 '18 at 11:28

I think that a simple "auguri in ritardo" will do the job. Of course you can build on this.

"Scusami! Mi sono dimenticato di augurarti buon compleanno. Auguri in ritardo!"

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    I agree, "auguri in anticipo/ritardo" is probably the most common way to say it. – Old Man of Aran Nov 30 '18 at 12:32
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    @Easymode44 Welcome on ItalianSE! – abarisone Nov 30 '18 at 13:07
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    Although I eventually used the turtle response from Alberto Moor, I felt like accepting this answer because it seems like the more general, formal one. – infinitezero Nov 30 '18 at 18:41

If it's a friend's birthday, you can reply jokingly

Ho affidato i miei auguri per te ad una tartaruga... scusa il ritardo! Auguri!


La cattiva notizia è che ho dimenticato di spedire in tempo il tuo biglietto d'auguri. La buona notizia è che ho dimenticato la tua età! Spero che tu abbia passato un felice compleanno!

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    Welcome on ItalianSE! – abarisone Nov 30 '18 at 14:35

If you are interested in an extended or humorous phrasing, other have already answered. The more straightforward ways to say “Happy belated birthday” are:

Buon compleanno in ritardo!


(Tanti) auguri (di buon compleanno) in ritardo!


I use the slightly different "ritardati auguri".

You can find here a jokely list of wishes in case you are late.

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    Ritardato in italiano is rarely used for “late”, while it also carries the meaning of “retard”... – DaG Nov 30 '18 at 17:53

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