Proverb-Mexican

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Mexican
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: April 22, 2011
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish

“Al que madruga, Dios lo ayuda.”

To he who wakes up early, God him helps.

God helps he who wakes up early.

“Something similar to “the early bird gets the worm” that my parents say is “al que madruga, Dios lo ayuda,” which translates to “God helps he who wakes up early.” This actually makes sense if you think about it because if you start something early, things tend to go well.”

Daniel was born in the United States and lives in Los Angeles. His parents are from Mexico. He studies occupational therapy at the University of Southern California. Daniel hears this variation through a Catholic tradition. Because waking up early does not signify anything in particular as far as I am aware in this tradition, waking up early is equated to beginning something early. This makes this expression similar to “the early bird gets the worm” because it emphasizes the advantages inherent beginning something early.

I have heard this expression growing up in a Muslim household, as well. A good Muslim is theoretically supposed to pray five times a day (or condensed into three times if you’re Shi’a). The first time is early in the morning, before the break of dawn. In my opinion, this expression’s emphasis on God’s help makes more sense if viewed in this light.

The fact that this expression exists in Muslim and Hispanic cultures provides the possibility that the terminus post quem for this proverb is the Arab invasion of Spain.