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Many happy returns

Posted by Mike Russo on November 04, 1999

Has anyone knowledge of the origin of "Many happy returns of the day"? I think it refers to wishing one many more years (returns of the earth) of a birthday or an anniversary, i.e. "may you live many more years".
My friend thinks it relates a more obvious meaning of "may many more salutations greet you on this day".
Mike Russo