22.3.11

Proverbs: Religious

 ألله منيح، ما متل مار مارون
 Allah mnî7, ma metl Mar Marún
God is good, but not as good as St Maroun.
(This saying reflects how close people feel to their saints, much like the French saying: Dieu, c'est bien, mais il ne vaut pas saint.)

 متل مار لورانس
 Metl Mar Luráns
Like St Lawrence
(Said of someone who is angry or aggressive, like St Lawrence on the gril)

 متل ألّي تحت إجرين مار مخايل
 Metl alle ta7t ejrén Mar Mkháyel
Like what is underneath St Michael's feet
(Said of someone ugly or disfigured)

 بعيد مار إلياس حطّ العنب عالجلاس
Bi-3îd Mar Liés 7att el-3enab bel-jellés
On St Elias' feast, put the grape (basket) on the stool.
(Means it's time to pick the grape)

 مار شلّيطا عينه ضيقة
 Mar Shallîta 3eyno dey2a
St Challita's eye is narrow (he's stingy).

 متل حكاية مار بولس والعسل
Metl 7kéyet Mar Búlos wel-3asal
Like the story of St Paul and the honey
(Legend has it that a new convert came to see St Paul to ask his advice on a legal matter. He put down a jar of honey at the feet of the saint; St Paul having a weakness for honey was not able to focus on what the man was saying. Finally he asked St Barnaby to buy the honey from the man, and then he was able to perform his duty properly. The proverb is used when someone is trying to get on a judge's good side.)

 متل مار متانيوس: حاضر نادر
 Metl Mar Mtányos: 7áder náder
Like St Anthony: always present, always alert
(Said of someone who is always there when needed. It is a reference to the devotion of women who are so confident in the saint's intervention they invoke him, for instance, when a child is about to fall.)

 بعيد مار يوحانّا بيرفع ألله غضبه
 Bi-3îd Mar Yo7anna byerfa3 Allah ghadabo
On st John's feast God lifts his anger from us.
 
 عيد مار يوحانّا حرّاق الدواليب
3îd Mar Yo7anna 7erré2 el-dwélîb
St John's day burns the wheels.
(The wheels in question are those used to spin silk threads -- they are no longer needed that time of the year.)

 أمّنت يا توما؟
 Ammant ya Túma?
Do you believe now, Thomas?
(Said to someone who is slow in accepting something obviously true.)

 مار روكس وكلبه
 Mar Rúkos w kelbo
St Roch and his dog
(Tradition says that a dog stole bread every morning to feed the saint in his prison. Said of two friends who are inseparable. )

 متل غراب نوح
 Metl ghoráb Nú7
Like Noah's crow
(Said of someone who was asked to fetch something and is taking a long time.)
 
 بيوعى نوح
Byú3a Nú7
It wakes up Noah.
(Said of a very outdated object or custom)

متل سفينة نوح
 Metl safînet Nú7
Like Noah's ship
(Said of an ill-assorted group of people, a total mess, much like English: it's a zoo!)

 بتضلّ الدنيا تشاهد لعيد الأربعين شاهد
Betdall ed-dene tshéhed la-3îd el-arb3în sháhed
Nature remains unleashed until the feast of Forty Martyrs.
(The Forty Martyrs were 40 Christian soldiers in the Roman army, who were made to spend a whole night in a freezing river. On their feast, March 9th, it is traditional to prepare kebbeh (meatless, since this is during Lent). It is shaped into 40 balls that are poured in a soup called 3adass b-7amod, where they have to float as did the martyrs. They are known by Armenians as Karasoun Mangants.)

 بالأربعين شاهد عكرمك جاهد
 Bil-arb3în shéhed 3a-karmak jéhed
On the day of Forty Martyrs take care of your grapevine.

لمّا بيحضروا الملائك بفلّوا الشياطين 
Lamma bye7daro l-maléyik bifello esh-shyatîn

When the angels arrive the demons leave.
(Said by the Druze when someone arrives right when someone else is leaving.)

أش ما راح من الشياطين بخفّ عالملائكة 
Esh ma rá7 men esh-shyatîn bikheff 3al-
maléyke
Any number of demons that leave, lightens the work of the angels.
(The reverse proverb is also used: Any number of angels that leave, lightens the work of the demons.)