Folk Saying/Proverb

“Nothing good happens after midnight.”

The informant is a 51 year-old father of four children and has lived in Southern California for most of his life.  He lost his mother at a very young age, so his grandmother helped his father raise him.  His grandmother was an educator from the Mid-West.  The informant’s grandmother was very involved in raising the informant.  The informant was told that his grandmother was the “wisest woman in the world”, always willing to share a proverb or piece of wisdom.  He had a great respect for her and always took her word to heart.  Now the informant shares the wisdom he has learned from his grandmother with his own children.

The informant learned this proverb from his grandmother.  He recalls coming home really late one night from hanging out with friends.  His grandmother was so angry that he did not come home by his curfew.  She told him this saying, and he says he believed it to be true.  The informant says that this is a practical outlook on life.  He always shares this with his children and always wanted them home before midnight.

This is a very interesting modern proverb.  It assumes that only bad things happen once midnight strikes.  The idea of liminal time may play into this saying.  There is an uncertainty with the liminal period of midnight.  People do not like uncertainty, and thus may be frightened of what could happen after this midnight time, when everyone is supposed to sleeping.