Jesus launched the fashion. In the gospel (7,6) Matthew wrote the phrase: ‘don’t throw pearls at the pigs.’ A way of saying: ‘Don’t waste your talents on those who don’t know how to appreciate them’. An expression which has come into common use in many languages: Perlen vor die Säue werfen in German, rzyca pery przed wieprze in Polish and to cast pearls before swine in a refined English.
But some countries have been more imaginative. In France it is extremely common to donner de la confiture aux cochons, to give jam to the pigs. But the strangest are the Spanish, for whom God da pañuelos a quien no tiene mocos - God gives handkerchiefs to those without mucus. The Italians instead, prefer to say: danno il pane a chi non ha i denti – don’t give bread to those who have no teeth.