‘Fer Pasqua abans de Rams’ plus 23 proverbs and sayings about Easter

Easter is the second most important religious festival on the calendar after Christmas so, in the traditional book of proverbs, that means it is a big festival: ‘Per Pasqua i per Nadal, cada ovella al seu corral’, ‘Per Pasqua i per Nadal, qui res no estrena res no val’. We also know that Easter is a very important festival if we consider Catalan cooking, becaues the proverbs say you have to eat lamb: ‘Bon dia i bon any que Déu nos dó, per Nadal bona porcella i per Pasqua un bon moltó’, ‘Per Pasqua, carn de corder; i per Nadal, de galliner’.

The sweets of this festival (eggs and cake) also get a mention in the proverb book, suggesting Easter is not the same without them: ‘Ous, ous, bona Pasqua, bon dijous!’, ‘Pasqua sense ous, com Nadal sense torrons’, ‘Ni Pasqua sense mona, ni Corpus sense ginesta, ni Sant Joan sense coca’. We shouldn’t forget that Easter is a Catholic festival and that, in times gone by, it could be used as a racist argument: A good example of that can be seen in using the custom of making doughnuts fried in lard to attack Jews and their religion, as in the following saying: ‘Qui no fa bunyols per la Setmana Santa és que és jueu’.

Despite that, Easter usually has positive connotations and gives rise to sayings such as ‘estar content com unes pasqües’ (to be as happy as a lark) ‘va mudat com les pasqües’ (be dressed in your Sunday best) ‘és dolç com les coques de Pasqua’ (as sweet as honey). You can also ‘fer la pasqua’ (make up) to someone after annoying them. But the most pragamical part of the proverb book warns ‘Pasqua i Nadal, s’esperen amb alegria i passen com un altre dia’, in other words, Easter can turn out like any other day, and also reminds us that ‘Cada dia no és Pasqua’. Another very popular saying is ‘fer Pascua abans de Rams’, which means you can’t change the natural order of things and put the cart before the horse, or morally speaking in the past, have children before getting married.

Easter falls between March and April, depending on the lunar calendar. Our proverb book includes the popular belief that if it arrives in March, it will bring all kinds of misfortune such as hunger, disease, bad weather and death: ‘Pasqua marcenca, fam i pesta primerenca’, ‘Pasqües marcenques, neu, guerra, fam i tombes fresques’ and ‘Quan la Pasqua cau pel març, el diable treu ses arts’. So it’s better if Easter is in April because, as the second of the next two proverbs says, the year is nicer: ‘Altes o baixes, per abril les Pasqües’, ‘La Setmana Santa per l’abril fa l’any gentil’.

One of the main preoccupations associated with Easter Week is what the weather will be like. The proverb book has an opinion on that too, a sign that weather changeability at this time of year has been bothering us for centuries: ‘Per Setmana Santa, pluja o vent, altrament, no és santa’, ‘Si plou per la Concepció, plou per Carnestoltes, per Setmana Santa i per Resurrecció’ and ‘El bon any ha de ploure per tres sants: per Setmana Santa, per les lledànies i per Tots Sants’. As the first suggests, Easter Week without wind or rain isn’t Easter!