• Counter :
  • 1973
  • Date :
  • 5/3/2005

Haitian Proverbs (2)

haitian proverbs (2)

Haiti is a non-literate culture. 80% or more of the people neither read nor write. Consequently, wisdom is oral. There are no detailed philosophical systems inHaiti. People hand down their knowledge and express it in proverbs. In the rural areas hardly 5 or 6 sentences can pass in any serious conversation without someone throwing in a proverb as defense of some idea. There are hundreds of proverbs.

Mapou mouri, kabrit manje fey li

When the mapou (oak-like tree) dies, goats would eat its leaves.

Manman pa janm mode pitit li jouk nan zo

A mother never bites her child to the bone

Sel pa vante tèt li di li sale

Salt doesn’t boast that it is salted

Pise gaye pa kimen

Spread piss doesn’t foam.

Se nan chimen jennen yo kenbe chwal malen

If you want to catch a wild horse, find a tight corral

Sa ki pa touye ou, li angrese ou.

That which doesn"t kill you makes you fat.

Kreyol pale, kreyol comprann

Creole Spoke is creole understood.

Santi bon koute che

Smelling good is expensive.

Bay kou bliye, pote mak sonje

The giver of the blow forgets, the bearer of the scar remembers.

Woch nan dio pa konnen doule woch nan soley

The rock in the water does not know the pain of the rock in the sun.

Bwe dio nan ve, respekte ve

(If you) drink water in the glass, respect the glass

Si se Bondye ki voye. Li peya fre ou.

If it is God who sends you, he"ll pay your expenses.

Sa ou fe, se li ou we

What you do is what you see.

Se met ko kiveye ko

It is the owner of the body who looks out for the body

Bondye do ou fe pa ou, M a fe pa M.

God says do your part and I"ll do mine.

Ou we sa ou genyen, ou pa konn sa ou rete

You know what you"ve got, but you don"t know what"s coming.

Famn se kajou plis li vye, plis li bon

Woman is like mahogany, the older the better.

Lanne pase toujou pi bon

Past years are always better.

Sa k rive koukouloulou a, ka rive kakalanga tou

What happens to the turkey can happen to the rooster too.

Nanpwen lapriye ki pa gen "Amen."

There is no prayer which does not have an "Amen".

Anpre dans tanbou lou.

After the dance the drum is heavy.

Men anpil chay pa lou.

Many hands make the load lighter.

Le yo vle touye chen yo di"l fou

When they want to kill a dog they say it"s crazy.

Kreyon pep la pa gen gonm.

The peoples pencil has no eraser.

Kay koule twompe soley soley men li pa twompe lapil

A leaky house can fool the sun, but it can"t fool the rain.

Tanbou prete pa janm fè bon dans
A borrowed drum never makes good dancing

Ti chen gen fos devan kay met li
A little dog is really brave in front of his master’s house.

Ti moun fwonte grandi devan baron
An impudent child grows up under Baron"s eyes
(Baron Samdi is the guardian of the cemetery in the Vodou religion)

Ravet pa janm gen rezon devan poul
Roaches are never right when facing chickens

Sonje lapli ki leve mayi ou
Remember the rain that made your corn grow.

Moun pa se dra
A protector is like a cloak

Nan tan grangou patat pa gen po
In times of famine, sweet potatoes have no skin

Ou konn kouri, ou pa konn kache
You know how to run, but you don’t know how to hide.

Sel pa vante tèt li di li sale:
Salt doesn’t boast that it is salted

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