Spanish Proverbs

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SPANISH PROVERBS

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Many Spanish proverbs have a long history of cultural diffusion; there are proverbs, for example, that have their origin traced to Babylon and that have come down to us through Greece and Rome; equivalents of the Spanish proverb “En boca cerrada no entran moscas” (Silence is golden) belong to the cultural tradition of many north-African countries as far as Ethiopia; having gone through multiple languages and millennia, this proverb can be traced back to an ancient Babylonian proverb.

Examples

Al buen callar llaman Sancho.

Literal translation:
They call the person that shuts up, Sancho.
Meaning/use:
Recommends prudence and moderation in talk.

Comments:

According to some authors, for instance José Mª Sbarbi, this proverb has its origin in a historical episode involving Sancho II of Castile. When his father Ferdinand I of Leon and Castile at his death in 1065 divided up his kingdom among his three sons, including himself, Sancho II remained silent. Soon after his father’s death, however, he turned on his brothers and succeeded in dispossessing them, reuniting thus his father’s possessions under his control in 1072. The author Correas, however, sustains that Sancho is used as a variation of the adjective santo (saintly) and should therefore be written in lower-case.

Cada buhonero alaba sus agujas.

Literal translation:

A peddler praises his needles (wares).
Meanings/uses:

Each seller tries to convince potential buyers that his merchandise is the best.
In a broader sense, people tend to praise what is theirs, often overstating qualities.
Used ironically to criticize a person who boasts about his merits.

Cada gallo canta en su muladar.

Literal translation:

Each rooster sings on its dung-heap.

Meanings/uses:
Each person rules in his own house or territory.
A person manifests his true nature when surrounded by family or close friends, when in his own ambience and in his place of origin.

Cada martes tiene su domingo.

Literal translation:
Each Tuesday has its Sunday.
Meaning/Use:
Exhorts to optimism, reminding that bad comes in alternation with good.

Comments:
In this Spanish proverb “good” is represented by Sunday, a festive day in Christian culture, whereas Tuesday, a week-day of less joyous character, stands for “bad”.

Cada uno habla de la feria como le va en ella.

Literal translation:
One talks about the fair according to how one fares.

Meaning/use:
Our way of talking about things reflects our relevant experience, good or bad.

Dime con quien andas y te diré quién eres..

Literal translation:
Tell me who you walk with, and I will tell you who you are.

Meaning/use:
According to your friends, mates, etc. you will be either a good person or a not so good person.
Donde comen dos, comen tres..

Literal translation:

Wherever two people eat, three people eat.

Meaning/use:
You can add one person more in any situation you are managing.
El amor es ciego.

Literal translation:
Love is blind
Meaning/use:
We are blind to the defects and failings of our beloved (person or thing).

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