Birthday vs. Anniversary. What's the Difference?

Don't refer to the day when you were born as "your anniversary". You call it your birthday.

An anniversary is a date when you remember something special or important that happened on that date in a previous year. For example, you can talk about your wedding anniversary, the anniversary of an invasion or attack, the anniversary of the death of someone, etc.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the historic event.

Don't refer to the day when you were born as "your anniversary". You call it your birthday.

Yesterday was my birthday.

"Birthday" means the "anniversary" of someone's birth, and its celebration is a type of anniversary celebration. However, “birthday” is specific for this occasion and the only choice when using a possessive pronoun (my, your, his, or her).

Today is your birthday. Happy birthday!

Today is your anniversary. Happy birthday!

Note that congratulating someone follows the same logic. When it's someone's birthday, we say "happy birthday" (not "happy anniversary" or "congratulations").

"Anniversary" can also be used as a shortened version of the phrase "wedding anniversary".

My parents went on a cruise to Alaska for their anniversary.

Thus, we say "silver anniversary" (25th wedding anniversary), "golden anniversary" (50th wedding anniversary), or "diamond anniversary" (60th wedding anniversary).

We invited some friends over for dinner to celebrate our silver anniversary.

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