The article deals with the issues associated with the actualization of the category of optative mood in paroemic units. The optative mood is analyzed in two complementary aspects: the optative mood as a particular case of the subjunctive mood and as a syntactical mood that indicates a wish. The optative mood is a special modal type of sentence that captures the grammatical meaning of the desirability of the indicated situation for the speaker and has formal properties that distinguish this type of sentence from other modal types of sentences. The materials used are Russian language paroemias related to complex phenomena of the language, as in addition to a wide functional potential, these paroemias capture the actualization of various grammatical categories. The semantic component of paroemias is realized in certain contextual conditions, which causes difficulties in determining particular grammatical meanings.Keywords: paroemia, optative mood, proverb, Russian language, syntactic category, modal plane.