Enjoy Some Puerto Rican Proverbs

Every country has a distinctive culture that is unique and often language is a distinctive part of this unique ‘fingerprint’. Even if the people in a particular country speak a language that is not unique to their corner of the globe, their way of speaking and their proverbial sayings will be somewhat unique. As with elsewhere, this is definitely the case with Puerto Rico where there are a number of proverbial sayings that are widely used and commonly understood.

Essentially, a proverb is a wise saying that is simple and easy to understand, but which will also usually reflect prudence and knowledge. Thus a proverb may serve to educate the young and to stop the impulsive in their tracks. “A word at the right time is O how good!” states the Biblical book of Proverbs in acknowledgment of this fact. Proverbs is a book that is filled with a great number of proverbial sayings that are widely used today, though few realize that these sayings come from the Bible. While many proverbial sayings are universal and are repeated all over the world – there are a few that are somewhat unique to a given area or country. These are the ones that are the greatest demonstration of the thinking and understanding of a particular culture. Often discovering and understanding a country’s proverbial sayings is the key to understanding the people of that country better. There are not that many proverbs from Puerto Rico that can be labeled as belonging only to that particular country, but even so these few Puerto Rican proverbs are interesting to learn about.

One Puerto Rican Proverb says: “Although the monkey might dress in silk, monkey it still is.” This would seem to be a comment that no matter how a person tries to present themselves, they cannot hide their true nature. Another is “Calling the devil is not the same as seeing him come,” which would seem to be a warning to be careful for what you ask for. The proverb: “The sleeping shrimp gets taken by the current,” is indicative of the need to take action when it is needed, while the saying: “The monkey knows the tree it climbs” is perhaps best understood as ‘no-one knows the truth of a situation better than those involved in it’. Clearly these insightful proverbs are both amusing and instructive and it is certainly worth while to pay heed to them, regardless of whether you are traveling in San Juan or Alaska.


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