Nicaragua Proverbs, Language, Culture

A proverb is a brief saying that is often widely used and usually states a basic truth or embodies a fact that many people have experienced. Because of this a study of Nicaraguan proverbs can provide much insight into Nicaraguans, their perceptions and cultural traditions.

Nicaraguan proverbs often come about due to common experiences. Take, for example, the Nicaraguan sayings: “Every pig has its Saturday” (meaning: ‘your day will come’) and “What’s good for the boar is good for the sow”. Sayings such as these came about when eating of pork increased amongst Nicaraguans. Nevertheless, equivalents of these sayings are found across the globe.

Why not use some of these Nicaraguan proverbs when you visit the country? The local people are sure to be impressed:

“With manners, everything can be obtained”
“You make the road by walking on it” (refers to work)
“It takes two to make a quarrel but only one to end it.”
“Everyone has his or her manner of killing fleas”
“Eyes that see do not grow old”
“Have patience, fleas, the night is long”
“At any rate, ‘moros’ are everyone” (‘moro’ refers to the color white when it has brown grease stains. This is a negative reference to mestizos)
“Tamale with cheese, food of the prisoner” (tamales are a Nicaraguan food made from banana leaves wrapped around cornmeal meat)
“The last monkey drown” (means: the last person in the line is not likely to get their portion of food)
“The tortilla is flipped” (means: a ruling party has been replaced by another)
“Don’t believe the saints that urinate”

In general people do not know where proverbs originated or at least who came up with the saying. However, certain proverbs can be attributed to well-known people in history and literature. Some Nicaraguan proverbs have been adopted from phrases uttered by famous Nicaraguans, such as the sayings below:

“The Nicaraguan’s worst fear is not the fear of losing a job, but the fear of getting sick.”

– Nicaraguan American pediatrician

“A virtuous person is the one able to contradict himself in a simple minute, but more virtuous is the one who does the same thing in privacy and not in front of an audience.”

– Ezequiel D’Leon Masis

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