One of the things Jamaicans often say in sticky situations is ‘ole people used to seh…’ This is often times in reference to proverbs older Jamaicans would always say and there is much wisdom to be drawn from these proverbs as they proved their relevance over and over again. Further, one Jamaican who understood the value of ‘ole time Jamaican people sayings’ or proverbs, was Jamaican folklorist Louise Bennett-Coverley or as Jamaicans affectionately call her “Miss Lou”. Miss Lou is credited for educating the world about the colorful Jamaican language, Patois. She will forever remain a prominent Jamaican icon whom Jamaican parents would reference while passing on the island’s traditions, beliefs, and language to their children, serving as a compass to help them navigate life’s challenges. So let’s keep it going, here are 10 Jamaican proverbs Miss Lou used that you need in your life.
When trouble tek man, pickney boot fit him!– When a man meets on hard times, he will even fit in a child’s shoe. This means when things get hard, even the impossible becomes possible.
Teck kin-teet kibba heart bun– Take smiles to cover heart burn. This means even when you are in hard times, still keep smiling.
Dark night got peeny-wally – Even dark nights have fire-flies. In other words, even when things seem hopeless there will always be a silver lining
Nuh care how long hog try fi hide undah sheep wool him grunt always betray him – It doesn’t matter how long a pig tries to ide under the wool of a sheep his grunt will always ruin his disguise. This means that people can frequently pretend to be something different from their true selves, yet their words will consistently reveal their genuine nature.
Suh cow a grow suh nose hole open -As a cow grows, his nostrils become larger. In other words, as you develop, your experience, knowledge, and understanding also expand and mature.
Ano evry mango ave maggige – Not every mango has maggots. The idea is that there are kind-hearted individuals among us as well.
Walk good an good duppy walk with you -Take care as you go and may good spirits keep you company. The idea here is that if you engage in positive actions, the spirits of good people will watch over you.
Annu evry keen teet a laugh– Not every grin is a laugh. This means that not everyone who appears friendly to you is truly your friend.
Mawga cow a bull muma- a meager cow is a bull’s mother – Never judge a book by its cover a lowly person can have strong connections in high places.
Ole ooman a swear fi nyam peppa pot and it a swear fi hot har belly– Old women really wants a pepper pot (salted mango) but the pepper pot really wants to give her a tummy ache. This means that what you really want to do might end up causing you harm in the future.
Hopefully, you find these useful and pass them down to your children, who can then pass them to their children, and so on.
And remember, walk good!