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The Folk Slavic Wisdom: Ancient Proverbs And Sayings In Ukraine

Ancient sayings that have a lot of truth to it…

Long before the emergence of writing, a person had a huge life experience, which passed from generation to generation. Proverbs, sayings, and riddles are only part of folk art that has come to our times. However, thanks to the compressed form, proverbs and sayings are easier to remember. Nowadays they teach people the wisdom of life.

Everyone in Ukraine during the conversation uses proverbs. This, as everybody can read in the textbook, short, concise statements that are generalized conclusions from life experience, these sayings have accumulated the wisdom of many generations. They are instructive. It is impossible to know no proverb because every Ukrainian has heard at least once: “There is no fruit without labor,” “Who will sow early, and will reap” or “Good at home, and better at home.” In the sayings, everything is superfluous, and the only truthful, proven, wise words are left. Proverbs cover all human life. You can hear statements about nature, science, mind, work, knowledge, friends, morals, good luck, etc. Wise, inflated words give us a lot of information, develop attentiveness (“Age live – age learn”). They are easy to remember.

How not to mention the well-known proverbs that are continually being used: “In fire and water” – so they say of a daring man who is not afraid of trials; “Pour oil on fire” – wait for an even greater flash; “How to draw water in your mouth” – means stubbornly silent. Yes, many, many others.

Consequently, proverbs and sayings travel from century to century, transmitted from the elder to the younger, enrich Ukrainian language and teach people wisdom.

How much were Ukrainian people, so much they put the wisdom into proverbs and sayings. Ukrainian words of wisdom have all the power in the people’s mind; they have a will to the descendants of how to behave, and the observation of life and people, and reflection on critical eternal questions. When somebody gets acquainted with folk proverbs and sayings, he just has noted that they affect all the topics that can only be interesting to man: there are sayings about the Motherland, about nature, about work, about money, about health and illness, about goodness. And evil, life, and death, about the family. You will not find words to express the whole depth of the pure human wisdom hidden in such short words!

Words of wisdom involve the observation of our ancestors regarding different feelings and the norms of folk morality. The power of the sense and eternity of true love is transmitted in such proverbs: “Love is not a fire, you’ll do it – you will not quit,” or: “Where is the love in the house, there are rich people.» While reading the artwork, I was often surprised at how well the writer described the beauty of the girl, which epithets are picking up, how accurately and poetically compares the first look with the phenomena of nature. Only when getting acquainted with folk art, I realized that almost all of the comparisons were taken from folklore, and then they went to travel pages of works of art. “A girl like a mound, like a clear star,” – this is taken from the great poetic folk art. I believe that each of us must be interested in folk proverbs and proverbs, because they make our speech more expressive, and they are a real treasury of wisdom. Let’s remember them for life because it’s not in the best interest to read a book when only the cream is grabbed!

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Photo: Amos Chapple/RFE/RL

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