Dichos Mexicanos – Mexican Sayings

Dichos Mexicanos – Mexican Sayings

“El que tiene mas saliva, traga mas pinole”

Cooking pinole involves slowly stirring, roasting.
Pinole is a very dry powder. Cooking pinole involves slowly stirring, roasting. Eating it requires moisture in the palate.

Dichos Mexicanos are sayings or proverbs that are handed from generation to generation as a way to preserve and teach important aspects of cultural wisdom, insight and philosophy.  I’m combining this archived recipe for pinole with the dicho referring to the powdered candy.

The English translation is “the one with more saliva eats more pinole.” Pinole is made by roasting finely ground corn powder and then mixing it with piloncillo (cooked, unrefined cane sugar) and cinnamon. The slow roast dehydrates the powder, so when you eat pinole you’ve really got to go slow and let your mouth go into action with saliva to moisten and heighten the enjoyment of this delicious candy powder. So, the deeper meaning of this dicho refers to the importance of competence, the need to rely on honed skills and abilities in our life. The more skill, experience and ability you have, the more success you will have for the task at hand.

Mexican dichos are a big part of Mexican traditional culture. Often they rhyme, and sometimes humor makes them more memorable, as you will see from the collection of dichos below. I received this list from Ms. Elvira Gonzalez who is originally from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas but now lives in Lubbock which is where I met her during a book signing event. We had a fascinating conversation about dichos and how they are important cultural vehicles that hold knowledge about our cultural values. They teach us to understand life.

Here is the list I received from Ms. Elvira Gonzalez who says there are many more. I’ve translated them loosely and I hope you enjoy them.

  • El que da razón del camino es porque andado lo tiene.
    –talk about the road once you’ve walked it

  • Ojos que no ven, corazon que no siente.
    –eyes that don’t see, heart that doesn’t feel

  • Haz el bien sin ver a quien.
    –do good without seeing to whom

  • Dime con quien andas y te diré quien eres.
    –tell me whom you’re with, I’ll tell you who you are

  • El que no tiene y llega a tener, loco se quiere volver.
    –having nothing and then getting, makes you crazy

  • Se mejor vivir gallina y no morir gallo.
    –better a chicken who lives than a rooster who dies

  • Primero mis dientes y luego mis parientes.
    –take care of my own teeth first, later my relatives

  • Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo.
    –the devil knows a lot not because he’s the devil but because he’s old

  • Eres como el azadón, todo pa’acá pero p’ayá nada.
    –you’re like a hoe, everything this way and nothing for others

  • A quien le dan pan que llore.
    –if you are given bread, cry

Lubbock Dinner, Book Signing (l to r) America Ramos, sister of Elvira Gonzalez. Adán Medrano and Elvira’s daughter, Sandy Pierce.


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2 thoughts on “Dichos Mexicanos – Mexican Sayings”

  • Thank you so much for your gift of self…for your contribution and knowledge and dedication to our beautiful culture…our food, our spirit of our land of south Texas. Thank you for posting this beautiful article and for including my mother Elvira Lugo Gonzalez ‘ dechios…! Thank you for your beautiful story “Truly Texas Mexican “ for once in my life, I am “Truly” proud of who I am…Your film connected all the dots on my Tejano, Mexican, Spanish, Lipan, Coahuilan ancestry …my father Sabino Gonzalez of Lockhart, Torreón Coahuila, Brownsville, Lubbock would have loved to have cooked with you… he was a gentle soul with the happy spirit you have…We are so proud you came into our path!!! We are very proud of you!
    Blessings! Diana Gonzalez Twomey-Elvira’s daughter.

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