Russian Proverbs

Why are proverbs so popular with Russians? 

It’s true that we have proverbs galore. Russian proverbs cover nearly all cultural concepts and spheres of our life: studies and work, love and friendship, home and family, language and school, nature and food…

Russian proverbs are not just laconic rhythmical utterances: «Пешком ходить — долго жить», “Walk on foot and you’ll live long”. They contain folk wisdom, the age-old experience of our ancestors that will always be on target. In any situation you can fall back on Russian proverbs as a kind of justification («Лучше поздно, чем никогда», “It’s better late than never”), if you want to advise somebody («Утро вечера мудренее», “Sleep on it”), or reproach them for something («Поспешишь — людей насмешишь», “Haste makes waste”). Russian proverbs reflect our often contradictory behavior and life principles. Here are some examples that may help you to make a step forward in understanding the “mysterious Russian soul”! We believe in fate and say «Чему быть — того не миновать», “What will be will be”. Russian proverbs touch upon the topic of work: «Терпение и труд всё перетрут», “Patience and labor will grind everything”, or perseverance wins. But sometimes rest takes priority over work and we are sure that «Работа не волк — в лес не убежит», “Work isn’t going anywhere”. Russian proverbs also reflect our love of our home and motherland. Not surprisingly, «Дома и стены помогают», “At home even the walls help”. Learning proverbs is an enjoyable and interesting way to learn about Russian culture and Russian life.

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