حيث لايوجد الناس هناك الجحيم
Transliteration: heith layoujd alnas hnak aljehm
Translation: Where there is no people, there is hell.
Context of proverb: This proverb presents the Syrian fear of solitude, thus demonstrating the importance of relational ties to others. In this sense, you are meant to treat others kindly so that you gain their company while avoiding an empty, hellish wasteland
The interlocutor recalled this proverb due to extent to which older family members have said it, hoping to instill or impart some knowledge on the younger members of his family, including himself. Through his faith, he has always felt a genuine fear of hell and damnation, explaining why he recalled this proverb so quickly with so much clarity.
Because one must enact their vernacular authority in order to grant another person with a bit of wisdom, the giver of the proverb is usually an older person with much more life experience and their own fair share of wisdom to give. One grows into the social role in which they are allowed and even expected to give advice to family members and the community in general. In the case of this specific proverb, the supposed elder is imparting the message that solitude is hell, pushing people to be amiable and compassionate to avoid the hell of loneliness.
Context & Analysis
The subject, my mother, and I were getting coffee for breakfast and I asked her if she could tell me some stories about her childhood. The subject’s father (who has recently passed away) was a history professor in the Midwest. The family moved frequently because of this, which made it difficult for them to settle in a single area for too long. The subject’s mother was a stay-at-home mother; she also has four other siblings. The subject’s parents were both the children of Norwegian immigrants and emphasized the value of hard work and wise spending habits. I think that this proverb reflects the down-to-earth and positive nature of the subject’s father. I haven’t encountered the exact version of this proverb anywhere else, but similar sayings exist sharing the theme of ‘seeing the best in other people’.
“My dad would always say, like, if we would complain about another person and say they were really mean he would say “Put the best construction on everything” so you don’t know, maybe they had good intentions, so think the best of other people.”
The informant was born and raised in Colorado. She all her life has used proverbs that her grandmother taught her to develop relationships. Her grandmother helped in assisting her by giving her proverbs to live by that apply to any situation and any human.
“A tiger can’t change its stripes”
“My grandma would always tell me that a tiger cant change its stripes. By this she meant that a tiger will always have stripes, you can cover them up, you can shave them off, you can try and hide them, but the stripes will always be there. This connects to humans because it translates as a person can’t change, he can hide who he is, pretend he is someone else but he won’t ever change. This is important to know because if you meet some and you get a bad feeling from them or if down the road they do something in your relationship that disappoints you and shows you who they really are you have to realize that they can’t change who they are. This also is good to apply to yourself. When I was young and insecure about myself trying to be like everyone else and fit in, my grandma would tell me a tiger can’t change its stripes meaning that you are who you are and no matter how hard you try and change yourself, you can’t and you will always have your stripes.”
This proverb summarizes humans pretty well. A tiger can’t change its stripes is really important in our society because it seems like everyone is always trying to change themselves to be something they aren’t and hide who they are to fit in. This proverb reminds us that we are who we are and we can’t change it so we should embrace our stripes and our characteristics rather than covering up who we are and what makes us us. I think this proverb is inferring that we are all unique and shouldn’t try to hide who we are and our differences are good and should be appreciated. This is helpful in a society where the look is the most important thing, where you have to look and be a certain way to be accepted.
This proverb also summarizes how we should treat other people. It is normal for people to love everyone and to think the best about people, which is something I do, but when a person proves to you over and over that they are a certain way that means that is who they are. Good or bad, their action could be positive of negative but it is a reflection of who they are and it is important to know that a person can’t change because then we won’t expect something from that person that they can’t give us, and we can decide if that is the kind of person we want to be around.
Proverb: Само знаеш човек след като си изял цял чувал сол с него.
Transliteration: Znaesh chovek camo cled kato ci izyal cial chuval ot col c nego.
Literal Translation: You only know a person after you’ve eaten through a whole sack of salt with him.
Meaning: It takes time to really know get to know someone.
I was at home from college for a weekend and I was spending time with my family, which involved mostly listening to my mother gossip about her friends. She began to talk about someone whom we both knew that had turned out to be quite a different person that what we had originally thought. We had misjudged that friend’s character, and while it wasn’t anything too serious or dramatic, my mother shook her head and said a Bulgarian proverb I had never heard before: “cамо знаеш човек след като си изял цял чувал сол с него,” or “you only know a person after you’ve eaten through a whole sack of salt with him.”
Upon seeing my confused face, my mother explained that since one would sprinkle only a little bit of salt on one’s food occasionally, it would take an exceptionally long time to eat through a large sack with someone. However, that amount of time is necessary to truly understand a person’s character, given that personalities and circumstances are quickly liable to change.
Since salt has been a common spice used in Bulgarian salads, dinners, and various meals, there was bound to be at least one proverb using it. I feel that my parents and relatives that live in Buglaria use salt much more than I prefer to do, either because they prefer saltier food or I am more used to the plainer cuisines I eat in California. Whatever the reason and wherever I am, people agree that it is important to know and understand whom one is with.