HomeQ&AA la ocasi贸n la pintan calva

A la ocasi贸n la pintan calva


A la ocasión la pintan calva.

They paint the occasion bald.

I recently came across this Spanish proverb and as it's so obscure I thought it might be fun to see if anyone can guess it's meaning or something close at least.

It'll probably be more fun if everyone just guesses it's meaning or puts an English proverb that they think may have a similar meaning rather than researching it.

Have a go smile

updated JUN 10, 2011
posted by Kiwi-Girl

4 Answers


HI Maria, interesting question, look what I found, I did not know the origin, but you must submit to the phrasebookwink

You have to strike while the iron is hot. Make hay while the sun shines.

You have to make the most of the chances that come your way.


The origin of this saying is very old. The Romans adored a Goddess named Ocasión (Caerus). She was represented as an extremely beautiful woman on tiptoes on a wheel and with wings on her feet or her back, thus indicating that good things go fast. The front part of Ocasión’s head was covered by a beautiful hair, but the rest was completely bald. So, when they said “tomar la ocasión por los pelos”, it meant that you must look at the chance (Ocasión) head-on when it comes to you, because this way you will have the opportunity to take it. Once it has passed -and as it doesn’t have hair in the rear-, it would be impossible to catch it.

In the course of time, this expression lost some of its original sense and began to be used to mean that something is achieved due to luck rather than ability or that one must take advantage of opportunities.


In many cases it is very common to hear “la ocasión la pintan calva” without the preposition a.

I actually use it withoutwink

updated JUN 26, 2010
posted by 00494d19
Gets my vote! - --Mariana--, JUN 26, 2010

Am sending you a PM.

updated JUN 26, 2010
edited by Delores--Lindsey
posted by Delores--Lindsey

La ocasión la pintan calva. Al contrario que los marineros, que se dejaban el pelo largo para ser más fácilmente cogidos si caían al agua, los romanos pintaban a la diosa Ocasión (compañera de la diosa Fortuna) sin pelo por detrás de la cabeza simbolizando la dificultad para atraparla.

Contrary to sailors who grew their hair long in order to be easily grasped if they had fallen into the water, the Romans painted goddess Occasion/Chance(a friend of goddess Fortune) without hair at the back of her head, symbolizing the dificulty in catching her.


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updated JUN 26, 2010
posted by Issabela

Thanx Heidita, yes I think you, Delores and I found the same link but I thought we could have some fun with guesses before the real answer got posted :(

updated JUN 26, 2010
posted by Kiwi-Girl
I feel for you. Happens to some of my posts sometimes. :-) But it is still an interesting post, and I learned something new. So you get my vote at least! :-) - Gekkosan, JUN 26, 2010
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