A Saying on the Nature of Life

Informant Info:

  • Nationality: Mexican
  • Age: 50
  • Occupation: N/A
  • Residence: Los Angeles 
  • Primary language: Spanish 
  • Relationship: mother 


EP provided me with the following folk speech in Spanish, “La vida está llena de lágrimas y ricas.” The literal english translation is, “Life is full of tears and laughs.”


EP immigrated from Mexico to the united states about 23 years ago. She brought with her all the sayings, folkspeech, and proverbs from her culture. The informant first heard this saying from her mother. She emphasizes that her mother always repeated this to her because she recalls that her mother “sufre mucho.” Sufria mucho means that she suffered a lot. Growing up in her household, EP remembers her mother saying the proverb when there was family problems or when someone would die. EP said, “Ahora te estas riendo con esa persona, y mañana ya esta muerta.” This means that today you can be laughing with a person, and tomorrow that person could be dead. 


I, myself have grown up hearing this saying as well, and I was first introduced to it by my mom. When she first told me it, I remember being in a crisis and it was her way of telling me it was okay. I interpreted this proverb as meaning life is full of ups and downs. There will be moments of suffering, but also joy. It is a way of accepting that life comes with difficulties, but we must also remember all the good moments. I know that this folk speech is typically said amongst Latin-x communities. The phrase is usually told during moments of hardship, mourning, or sadness.