17 Berber proverbs to muse over. #MoroccanFridays


Original photo by my dearest friend and talented photographer – Lina. (Adapted by Writer’s Caravan)

Salam Aleykoum! It’s time for another Moroccan Friday, a series in which I aim to shine a light on the country I grew up in. The series strives to explore various topics, swaying between reality and legends, geographical wonders and curious traditions. You can discover previous posts here.
(NB: From now on, I will only be posting on the first Friday of each month.)


Proverbs are a great way to understand a culture. They have often been passed on from one generation to another, sometimes in writing but often, especially in Morocco, by word of mouth. I have come across many Moroccan sayings while growing up and even more while researching my novel.


So I have decided to give you a glimpse of Moroccan wisdom. Here are 17 Berber proverbs to muse over.


  1. A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
  2. Courage is fear that has said its prayers.
  3. Dawn does not come twice to awake a man.
  4. The land where the stones know you is worth more than the land where the people know you.
  5. Silence is the door of consent.
  6. Every road has two directions.

    Photo kindly supplied by my “eyes and ears” in M’hamid.

  7. For the sake of one rose, the gardener becomes the servant of a thousand souls.
  8. He who leaves his house in search of happiness pursues a shadow.
  9. Pleasant words will draw a snake from its hole.
  10. The morning hour has gold in its mouth.
  11. If a man puts a cord around his neck, God will provide someone to pull it.
  12. Day has its eyes, night has its ears.

    Morocco, Sahara, Erg Chigaga

    Morocco, Sahara, Erg Chigaga – photo by Gustaw Jot (CC BY-ND)

  13. Everything which you find you should keep until Time says to you, Give it.
  14. The almond trees lie and the apricots speak the truth.
  15. A man without children is like a horse without a tether.
  16. Nobody is really a man but he who is with other men.
    And finally, when Moroccans pour mint tea, you will often hear the following proverb:
  17. The first glass is as gentle as life, the second glass is as strong as love, the third glass is as bitter as death.

Try as I may, I can’t decide on a favourite. There is something so powerful about number 2. I also love how strong the sense of community is in number 16. As for number 10, isn’t it just beautiful?

What about you? Any favourites?


Thanks for reading.
Hop on my Facebook and Twitter caravans.


24 responses to “17 Berber proverbs to muse over. #MoroccanFridays

  1. What an insight into a way of thinking. The ones that give me particular food for thought are numbers 4 and 8. They feed into my attempts to overcome apprehension, now that I’ve actually booked accommodation for six months in Warsaw!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Number five is particularly interesting because there are other cultures where silence tends to be taken as polite disagreement rather than consent. I love these little differences around the world. Incidentally, do you happen to know what almond trees did to deserve their rather poor reputation? :)


  3. Can’t say it’s my favourite, but number 15 has a certain resonance about it. They are oblivious to it at the moment (and may always be), but I think about my children every day, and their very existence affects so many of my decisions and actions.

    These have been fascinating, and I can’t help but be disappointed that you’ll only be posting once a month. On the plus side, as with so many rare things, I’ll savour them even more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know my mum feels the same way and I’m sure your children will not be oblivious forever.
      I’m flattered to hear you say that. It wasn’t an obvious choice but I decided so to avoid giving you all a Morocco overload! Rationing is key. ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ‘Courage is fear that has said its prayers.’ All these proverbs are fascinating, rich in meaning, but this one jumped out at me. I will remember this always, thank you for sharing :-)


  5. Love them all, Ellie! But I was drawn to the mint tea at the end… they do not make mint better anywhere in the world! The tiny glass, the sweetness, sipping it through the bunch of fresh mint… its wonderful and completely rejuvenating after a few days trekking up Toubkal! Love Morrocco! Hope I get there again one day.


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