So today I want to take you somewhere you have not been to before with me. As you may or may not know I like to use quotes sometimes to keep me motivated. Today I want to share some Jamaican proverbs that while initially they may prove very entertaining to decipher, however they also offer some truly valuable nuggets of wisdom.
So here you are, some Jamaican proverbs to inspire you and send you on your way!
All these proverbs, translations and explanations, were taken from the National Library of Jamaica website. Please click on the link to see what else they have to offer…
Proverb: If you get your han’ in a debil mout’ tek it out.
Translation: If you put your hand in the devil’s mouth, take it out carefully.
Explanation: Act cautiously in getting out of difficulty.
Proverb: Ebry dyay debble help teef; wan dyah Gad wi help watchman.
Translation: Every day the devil helps the thief; one day God will help the watchman.
Explanation: We should not despair when it appears to us that unscrupulous persons continue to take advantage of us with no apparent deterrent. God never sleeps, and is fully aware of everything that occurs. He will one day reward the efforts of the faithful.
Proverb: Big blanket mek man sleep late
Translation: A thick blanket causes a man to sleep late.
Explanation: An over-abundance of luxuries causes one to become complacent, and to take life’s blessings for granted.
Proverb: No matta how kokkuch junk, im noh waak pass fowl yaad
Translation: No matter how drunk the cockroach becomes, he never makes the mistake of walking past the yard of the fowl.
Explanation: The cockroach is considered to be a delicacy for fowls. In the interest of self-preservation, cockroach is reluctant to go past any area where he may be easily caught by a fowl. For humans, he same should apply, self-preservation being the first law of the of the species.
Proverb: Hag nyam wha im myne gi im fah
Translation: The hog/pig eats whatever its mind gives it for [or wants].
Explanation: To each, his own.
Proverb: No mug no bruk, no cawfee no dash weh
Translation: The mug is not broken, therefore the coffee is not thrown away (or wasted).
Explanation: Even in the most difficult of times, if total devastation has not occurred, one should count his/her blessings. Do not blow simple matters out of proportion.
Proverb: A no ebryting kum fram abuv a blessen
Translation: Not everything that comes from above is a blessing.
Explanation: Enjoy those blessings which come from above, but do not be misled by deceivers who use their superior positions to dispossess the unfortunate.
Proverb: Yu cyaan ketch Quaku (Harry), yu ketch im shut
Translation: If you cannot catch Quaku (Harry), catch his shirt
Explanation: It is not always possible to get everything you want. Be satisfied with what little you have, until you are able to get all you want. Having caught Quako’s shirt, you are all the closer to catching him.
Those were just a few for you to enjoy, hope you found at least one that you can relate and use. Until next time…