Laranja ouro


Today I learned a Portuguese proverb:

Laranja de manhã é ouro, à tarde prata, e à noite mata.

Which translates to: “Orange in the morning is gold; in the afternoon, silver; and at night it kills.”

The Portuguese love their orange juice in the mornings. Most cafés have an industrial juicer right next to the espresso machine, and a giant bin of oranges somewhere nearby. It’s not so common to have it in the afternoon, and nobody orders it at night. Apparently, someone figured out long ago that the acidity of the juice does no favors to the digestion process while sleeping, and can lead to acid reflux or heartburn.

Interestingly enough, I never crave fresh orange juice at night. I do in the mornings, and sometimes in the afternoon. Is this my body’s intuition speaking, or my cultural training?

At any rate, I am now happily sucking down a fresh glass of orange juice and committing this proverb to memory. The best part is that it solves a long-standing problem I’ve had with remembering the difference between prata and prato. One means silver, the other means a plate or dish, and I am forever confusing the two. Now I can just remember that prata rhymes with mata.


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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8 Responses to Laranja ouro

  1. Alma says:

    I can’t drink orange juice in the morning, at least not until I’ve had a sturdy breakfast, because it makes me nauseous. That’s probably to do with the acidity as well.

    And freshly squeezed is the only decent way to drink oranges; the juice that comes in a carton is immensely dull by comparison!

  2. Lilaine says:

    We have the same saying in French, except the night-time orange is lead.

    You could still have trouble remembering the difference if you consider that prato rhymes with mato… :p

    e o fumo mata! 😉

  3. oregon expat says:

    Interesting about “lead” versus “kills.” Obviously the Portuguese are more linguistically passionate about such things than the French. 😉

    As for the prato and mato…I am ignoring that.

    • Lilaine says:

      I’m not sure about the ‘more linguistically passionate’ thing. It might just be a question of quantity: it is certainly easier to take too much orange juice(enough to kill) where there are many more available oranges all around.
      Orange trees must grow everywhere in Portugal, don’t they? In France, only the most southern regions have orange trees(in a natural, historical pov). I remember my GrandPa saying that, when he was young, oranges were like treasures to people living in northern regions of France. Not many French people could easily drink much orange juice.

      You don’t want to know how linguistically passionate French people can be when food or drinks are concerned… 😉

      Sorry for my bad attempt at a joke with Portuguese words. I won’t do it anymore. At least, not with Portuguese words. :p

  4. Gonçalo says:

    You might want to take a look at this on the matter of the proverb’s scientific value:

    • Lilaine says:

      Ah, thanks 🙂
      I took a look(the only sense I could rely on in this circumstance), and by this guy’s smug look at the end of the video, I guessed he just busted the myth of the killing orange… did I guess well?
      I didn’t ear anything about prato, or mato…It must be a good sign, right? 😉

    • oregon expat says:

      I took a look…but the gentleman never addressed the issue of heartburn or acid reflux. He was just talking about the lack of information regarding health dangers of orange juice (which, of course, are nonexistent). So I think the video takes the proverb a bit too literally.

  5. Thomas J Avatarici says:

    The saying is “Orange juice is like gold in the morning, silver in the afternoon, and lead at night”. I am in Florida. We say that here not because it’s poison, it is how it “sets” in your system. Bright and fresh and invigorating in the am, great as a mixer with vodka in the pm–or on ice, but it sets heavily in your tummy in the evening. Characteristic of the metal, not the toxic level. Gold=pure, silver=tarnished, lead=heavy.

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