“El que madruga, Dios le ayuda”

“El que madruga, Dios le ayuda”

“The one who rises early will be helped by God”

“Ese dicho se dice generalmente a la gente que es muy trabajadora, es una expresión que  dice que a la gente que trabaja duro, le va bien. Casi la mayor parte de mis dichos los e escuchado en la casa, porque somos una familia de muchos dichos.”

 “This proverb is told generally to people who are very hardworking, it is an expression that basically says that those people who work hard will do well. Almost the majority of my proverbs I heard at home, because we are a family of many proverbs.”

My mom, the informant for this proverb, was born and grew up in Mexico, living the first 30 years of her life in Mexico City. As a native Mexican, she knows a lot about the customs and culture of the country. Besides that, she also grew up in a family that, like most Mexican families, uses proverbs very frequently in everyday speech. She therefore learned most of the proverbs that she knows in a household setting, from family members and friends. She remembers most of the proverbs that she heard while growing up given the fact that they were constantly repeated, and also because of their very memorable format, often using rhymes, alliteration, and rhythm to convey their message. Today, many of them are part of her everyday vocabulary.

This proverb emphasizes the role of religion in Mexican culture. Help from God is always asked for, no matter the situation. This proverb also stresses the value of working hard – although it does not strictly mention “hard work” the action of rising early is symbolic of this. The bottom line is that an honest, hardworking person will, in the end, be helped out, or rewarded. In a sense, it is akin to the English-language proverb, “The early bird catches the worm”, emphasizing the idea of starting work early to get a reward. Given that the help of God is the highest and purest of rewards, what more could a religious person ask for? The informant heard this proverb often from her mother, its purpose essentially to stress a philosophy of honest hard work, as well as that of a good Catholic upbringing.


This proverb is cited in the following article:

Foster, George M. “Character and personal relationships seen through proverbs in Tzintzuntzan, Mexico.” The Journal of American Folklore 83.329 (1970): 304-317.