Yemeni Proverbs for All Occasions [Archives:2001/36/Culture]

September 3 2001

Saad Shareef Taher
Iraqi Teacher of English

Yemeni proverbs are an essential part of Yemeni culture because they are the spoken expression used by Yemenis during their daily public activities. They are the mirror that reflects simple thinking by which the people are expressing their daily life, habits and customs. They are the living records of politics, agriculture and wisdom throughout history. One can grasp by them minute details of the simple Yemeni society and have an actual picture of what is on their mind. From the large number of such proverbs, I have chosen the following glittering gems:
Some that are related to behaviors:
[Darhum ma dimt fi darhum]

Meaning: Cajole them as long as you are at their houses.
Comment: When one is at other’s house he should follow their habits, costumes and traditions.
Situation: When advising young people how to behave.
[Ma yjlis bil zewweh illa katheer il dewweh]

Meaning: No one sits at the corner except the talkative ones.
Comment: People who feel that we wean try to show themselves by talking much or sitting in the corner so no one can see them.
Situation: When scoring the talkative.
[Man jales janes]

Meaning: Whoever accompanies a sort of people will behave as they do.
Comment: If one associates with new companions, he will definitely be affected by them.
[Ma ykherrij asrarek illa men dekhel dark]

Meaning: None will uncover your secrets except those who enter your house.
Comment: No one knows you well except your close friends. So, be careful of them because one day they may uncover your secrets or intentions.
[Ain atseer ya hesed, gal bein il ikhwa wel ahl].

Meaning: “Envy, where are you going?” “Among brothers and relatives.” It said.
Comment: Relatives envy each other much.
Situation: When envy spreads among families.