Tropical fruits and popular phrases

Tropical fruits and popular phrases

Heritage & Traditions

Ana Maria Silveira

The tropics are lavish in fruits, those refreshing products of nature, in the wild or cultivated by the hand of man, which in addition to standing out in healthy diets are part of the popular imagination.

Fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, sugars ..., depending on the species in question, and have beneficial effects on health such as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, anti-infective, preventive of various diseases and other favoring a better quality of life. Music, fine arts and literature have been inspired by them in numerous pieces and at all times.

For example, the considered first Cuban literary work written, Espejo de Paciencia (Mirror of Patience), from early seventeenth century, refers to almost all the fruits known on the island at that time. The inhabitants of this Caribbean island have always been lovers of these delicious foods, naturally, in juices, smoothies, sweets or as complements to other dishes of Creole cuisine, and they have also incorporated them into popular speech, in meaningful expressions that are passing by. from generation to generation.

The mango, a favorite fruit and widely spread in the country, is perhaps one of the most frequent protagonists of these phrases, among them: “it ended with the farm and the mangoes”, when commenting on a devastating phenomenon; "Green mangoes at good time", if the action is late; "Tremendous rice with mango", implying a very complicated situation; "Buzzing mango", describing disappointment at an unexpected and negative event.

Other fruits also appear in these expressions: "tremendous guava" means a great lie; "Where the water enters the coconut" refers to something unknown; "Don't make a cocoon of that" is a recommendation not to worry about any issue; "Eating pineapple peel" is to proceed stupidly and "green and spiked, soursop" means that it is obvious.

These are some examples of the presence of tasty fruits in the Creole language, but there are many others, not always typical of the country but that were already "flattened" (aplatanado) here, which, in reference to the popular banana, means adopting the customs of the place where one is.