By Francesca Politi - JUMP Team

Almost every culture has its unique proverbs. Those short, metaphorical expressions, part of every spoken language, reflect the history and traditions of past generations and form a genre of folklore. Their verbal articulation yet so simple is significant to such an extent that permits us to assemble pieces of a population’s life philosophy, creating a mosaic where we can observe their moral, social, economic and civil values, their way of dealing and solving problems from the biggest to the smallest, that have for quite a long time directed their everyday life.


“What makes proverbs so popular and powerful is they connect to very deep psychological roots in human beings”

In proverbs, the rich historical experience of the people, the ideas associated with work, life and culture of individuals are reflected. The body of Calabrian proverbs, with all the neighbor differences from province to province, is assimilated by a shared background so we find many that refer to horses, sheep, donkeys etc. and farm work, reflecting the pastoral heritage of the region.  But there seems to be a proverb for everything since they touch on just about every aspect of life. Conventional wisdom has produced overtime rules and advice on various topics of everyday life: love, family and relatives, human vices, work and wealth, religion, weather and seasons, and so on. Proverbs as metaphorical signs continue to play an important role in oral and written communication. They are not sacrosanct (sometimes they even contradict each other), they usually offer much common sense or wisdom based on recurrent experiences and observations. Most importantly, they connect us with who we are, retracing the roots of our community and fulfilling a fundamental need, the need of feeling the continuity between past and future.

If you are still curious about proverbs, you can find the whole Calabrian proverb series here, on the website of a very talented multidisciplinary artist.


  • Luci Callipari-Marcuzzo, Calabrian proverb series: A fami caccia ‘u lupu d’u vòscu (Hunger will get the wolf out of the woods), 2016. Graphite on paper. © Courtesy of the artist
  • Luci Callipari-Marcuzzo, Calabrian proverb series: Mègghiu òji l’òvu ca domani ‘a gajina (Better today the egg, than tomorrow the hen), 2016. Graphite on paper. © Courtesy of the artist


  • Kanat Syzdykov, Contrastive Studies on Proverbs, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *