“Lo que bien se aprende, nunca se pierde”
(“What is well learned is never lost”)
I believe strongly that for any culture to have any kind of longevity, its participants must practice an active curiosity in each stitch of thread that has created the culture and holds it together. Both young and old should continuously learn, access, and live by their culture’s roots so that those roots can continue to flourish for future generations. Every culture possesses its own unique way of passing this wisdom on from generation to generation.
In the Latino culture, Dichos act as that intergenerational gateway, offering rules to live by for generation after generation. They are invaluable proverbs and sayings. In just a few words, each delivers a serious message, value or belief. They are utilized to help make a point, and teach a life lesson. Dichos have the power to convey a valuable human experience and validate life’s trials and tribulations. Dichos serve as profound lessons to be learned from the life experiences of our forefathers, each incorporating the astuteness of past generations and serving as teaching tools for us to live by today and tomorrow.
Dichos are a beautiful tradition of communication passed down within the Latino culture. They allow elders to connect with and carry wisdom to new generations. In learning, accessing and living by los dichos we continually breathe life into the inspiring, humorous and philosophical proverbs that have woven themselves throughout Latino culture for centuries. Dichos have a profound impact on society because of the history they are rooted in, the emphasis they place on individual Latino cultures, and because they are blind to educational, economic and class systems. Dichos are words translated into history.
There are thousands of dichos in existence today – some humorous, some serious, and some specific to certain countries. Each has a particular meaning that is generally universal and crosses over all cultures. Dichos are a genuine and unique form of expression, a way of exaggerating or pointing out an important aspect of life.
Dichos provide messages of hope, direction and guidance just when we need them. When for some reason or another a basic truth escapes us, dichos put us back on track in the right direction. When we face challenges in life dichos can give the situations a sense of clarity and direction.
Because of these reasons and many more, dichos are the day-to-day rules that I live by. I am blessed to be part of a family that allowed me to live and travel to unique places. I have gained valuable life lessons through dichos from my family that provides direction in all facets of my life.
“De Tal Palo, Tal Astilla”
(“Of the stick comes the splinter”)
This dicho is also like the English sayings, “the apple does not fall far from the tree” or “like father like son.” My parents migrated to the United States from Colombia in the 1960’s. They came to this country with essentially nothing except each other and a dream of a better life for themselves and their children. My father came from a large family of modest means, with thirteen brothers and sisters. Actually, my grandmother, my father’s mother, was pregnant twenty-two times. My mother also came from a large family of eleven brothers and sisters. My family is a walking and talking billboard for the “big Latino family”.
Shortly after they were married, my parents decided to move the United States “temporarily,” as is frequently the intention of many immigrants. Their plan was to work and save enough money to, hopefully one day, send my father to medical school and return to Colombia. Forty plus years later our family is still here.