I used to think we use congratulations for achievements but I recently came across an occassion when a native speaker said "congratulations" when he heard it's someone's birthday.
Can we use congratulations for birthdays or that person just made it up?!
What about new year? Can we use congratulations for new year's occassion, too? Think of this: I say
"Today is our New Year's Day"
can you say,
"Congratulations, didn't know that"
The following questions are a bit different from the previous ones but they're related to new year and stuff.
When you say "congratulations" to someone, you congratulate them on an achievement (at least I'm sure about this usage). When you say, "happy new year" or "happy birthday" what do you do exactly? (I suppose it's not congratulating!)
There is a week left to the New Year and I want to say "happy new year" to someone maybe because I know I won't see that person anymore by the end of the holidays (in my language we do this because it's polite). What should I say? Is "happy new year in advance" a good phrasing? If not, what are better replacements for this?