Proverbs of Bangladesh, Culture, Language

Proverbs are brief sayings that reveal a common truth and express the perceptions of a community based on experiences in life, society and the world. The Bangla word that is used is 'probad', which translates to 'statement' or 'saying'. These sayings are then passed along orally through the generations, eventually becoming well-known Bengali proverbs.

Bangladesh’s proverbs provide insight into the traditions, wisdom, spirit, folk belief, education and talents of the nation. Although transmitted over many generations, Bangla proverbs are just as pertinent today.

Below are examples of proverbs from Bangladesh. See what truths and perceptions you can learn about in these short but powerful expressions.

“Half-truth is more dangerous than falsehood” (Ardha-Satya Mithya Apeksa Bhayankara)
“Thirteen festivals in twelve months” (Baro Mashe Tero Parbon) – many occasions for celebrating.

“Time flows like the flow of water in a river” (Shomoy Bohia Jaey Nodir Sroter Praye)
“This is a happy time of the Harvest for one, it is complete devastation for someone else” (Karo Poush Maash, Karo Shorbonash)
“Hide the fish with greens” (shak die machh dhaka)
“Saying something irrelevant to the present occasion” (Dhan Bhante Shiber Geet)
“You cannot eat a fried fish by flipping it” (bhaja machh ultie khete pare na” – an inept person
“Since the Brahmin who owns the land is away, the hired ploughmen stop working” (Bamun Gelo Ghar To Langal Tule Dhar)
“Think before you do, not after you’re done” (Bhabia Korio Kaj, Koria Bhabio Na)
“A one-eyed uncle is better than no uncle at all” (Na mama theke kana mama bhalo)
“Being unnecessarily flashy is pointless” (Hagor Loge Hag Nai Rounor Biromana)
“The eyes are the mirror of the mind” (Chokh Moner Ayna)
“People meet each other without prior knowledge. It is a person’s character which displays their true attributes to the eyes.” (Manush Manusher Kache Ochena Bhabe Ashe, Choritrer Gune Manush Shobar Choke Bashe)
“The deer has enemies because of its flesh”
“Unless a man is simple, he cannot recognize God, the Simple One.”
“There is not a single village without a river or a rivulet and a folk poet or a minstrel”

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