Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
A place for poems, songs, rhymes and traditions from around the world for both kids and grown-ups to enjoy!
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Articles about 'Proverbs'
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Monique wrote from France, "I just caught the end of the Spanish news on T.V.  The lady presenting the weather forecast said a proverb about April: ‘Buenos amigos y buenos abriles, uno entre miles.’  Meaning, ‘Good friends and good Aprils, one out of thousands.’" Thanks for sharing the proverb and your photo Monique! -Mama Lisa Monique Palomares works...
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I recently posted a song about Mt. Fuji and a haiku poem about a snail climbing Mt. Fuji. While I was working on them, I came across mention of there being a tradition in Japan of people wanting to climb Mt. Fuji during their lifetime.  I asked Sadao Mazuka who’s from Japan about this tradition....
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"La nuit porte conseil" is French for "sleep on it".  It means, think about it overnight and don’t make a decision until tomorrow… often good advice! The photo is this saying on the door of a Broom closet in Herald Square (New York). –Mama Lisa
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Here’s an Irish Blessing just in time for St. Patrick’s Day… Irish Blessing   May your pockets be heavy And your heart be light.   May good luck pursue you Each morning and night. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! -Mama Lisa
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The poem, Perseverance or Try Again by William Hickson appeared as a song in his book "The Singing Master" in 1836.  It’s believed he coined the proverb "If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again": ‘Tis a lesson you should heed– Try, try, try again; ...
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“Who Laid an Egg?” is a kids saying meaning, “Who farted?”  The cartoon above is a play on the expression by 5th grader Lila Pomerantz.
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Maryam wrote from Iran explaining about the Persian tradition of “divination” by consulting the Oracle of Shiraz Hafiz for guidance.  Divination is a way to find out an answer to a question you have about your future (will you marry the one you love, will you get that job, etc.) To understand about the “Oracle of...
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I saw a note on Facebook about the saying “Mama had a baby and its head popped off”.  It’s said when you see a dandelion.  While saying it you pop off the dandelion head like in the video below.  I had never heard this one. It’s a bit like what kids say when they walk on...
The last three days of March are said to be "borrowed from April." March said to April.  I see 3 sheep upon a hill; And if you’ll lend me three days I’ll find a way to make them die. ...
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Jeremy Shatan wrote from New York: "It’s the vernal equinox, the first day of spring. Around this time of the year, my mom would always say: ‘Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, the boid is on the wing.’ Yes, just like that." This saying is all in "New Yorkese", a New York accent.  It...
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A while ago, I talked about how my daughter’s class made drawings illustrating the literal meanings of idiomatic expressions.  This is a great way to help children, and people learning English as a second language, to understand these sayings.. One drawing my daughter did was an illustration of the expression "follow your nose".  "Follow your nose"...
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My daughter’s fifth grade class was given a really interesting assignment.  The teacher asked them to make drawings that illustrated the literal meanings of common sayings. In American English "You’re on a roll" means you’re going from success to success.  Here’s a drawing my daughter did of the literal meaning of being on a roll! ...
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Photo of Poison Ivy There’s a saying to help identify Poison Ivy… "Leaves of Three, Let it Be!" So if you see a plant that has three leaves be extra careful!  See the photo above of poison ivy?  The leaves look a bit like ivy.  Unfortunately, I took this in my own...
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The Idiom: The Frog in the Well – 井底之蛙 (jǐng dǐ zhī wā) – is a Chinese idiom that refers to a narrow-minded person who doesn’t see the larger world around them.  The Story: The story is about a frog who lives happily in a well.  He has no idea what’s outside of that well. ...
“The heart that truly loves never forgets.”
The expression Like a Bull in a China Shop literally refers to a lumbering, clumsy person damaging things… imagine someone stumbling around a shop full of delicate items, flailing, knocking things over and breaking them. That’s what you’d think would happen of you let a bull loose in a real china shop. Wouldn’t...
Ayako Egawa wrote to me from Japan about the proverb, “The Grass is always greener on the other side.” The proverb means that people always think that others have it better in life, even if it’s not the case. Interestingly, Ayako said that this proverb also exists in Japan. Here’s what she...
Here’s an Angolan Proverb about mothers of babies. It’s over a century old… Nzamba k’anemenê mukombe uê, 0 mama k’anemenê mon’ê. English Translation The elephant doesn’t know its trunk is heavy; So a mother doesn’t feel the weight of her babe.
“Se bon ki ra” is an old Haitian proverb meaning “good is rare”. It’s meant to be a reminder to treasure your unique experiences in life.
Monique Palomares works with me on the French and Spanish versions of Mama Lisa’s World. She sent me some proverbs about March from different European countries in response to a post I did about Italian Proverbs about March. Here’s what Monique wrote… Here are some proverbs in Occitan, Catalan, French, Spanish, Portuguese and...
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