Saudade – The Strong Word of Longing
A longing is a strong feeling of need or desire for someone or something. If you’re stuck in detention and all of your friends are outside enjoying a sunny day, you might be looking out the window with longing.
A longing describes an unfulfilled desire. The days might feel long as long as you are longing to see someone you love, if that person is far away. You might be longing for your mother’s home-made chicken soup, if you are sick and far from home. Or perhaps you are a pregnant woman, wide awake and longing for pickles and ice-cream at four in the morning. Let’s hope there’s a twenty-four hour deli open somewhere to help satisfy your longing.
Saudade is a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return. One English translation of the word is missingness, although it might not convey the feeling of deep emotion attached to the word “saudade”. Stronger forms of saudade might be felt towards people and things whose whereabouts are unknown, such as a lost lover, or a family member who has gone missing, moved away, separated, or died.
Saudade was once described as “the love that remains” after someone is gone.
Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places, or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone (e.g., one’s children, parents, sibling, grandparents, friends, pets) or something (e.g., places, things one used to do in childhood, or other activities performed in the past) that should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence. It brings sad and happy feelings altogether, sadness for missing and happiness for having experienced the feeling.
“Memory of something with a desire for it.”
Duarte Nunes Leão
I’ve always been fascinated that there are certain words with no direct equivalents in other languages. It goes to the idea that life is so varied and complex, it will spawn words as distinctive as snowflakes.
The natives of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina have the word mamihlapinatapai for a look shared between two people when both are wishing the other would do something neither wants to. In Thai there is greng-jai ? when you don’t want someone to do something for you because it would be a bother for him or her.
Perhaps my favorite of these elusive words is saudade, a Portuguese and Galician term that is a common fixture in the literature and music of Brazil, Portugal, Cape Verde and beyond. The concept has many definitions, including a melancholy nostalgia for something that perhaps has not even happened. It often carries an assurance that this thing you feel nostalgic for will never happen again. My favorite definition of saudade is by Portuguese writer Manuel de Melo: “a pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy.”
Since it comes up so frequently in the music we listen to on our show, we decided to dig deeper. Joining us to explain the concept are two musical masterminds: jazz singer Luciana Souza and producer Beco Dranoff. Both do a great job of explaining what saudade means playing some of their favorite tracks.
I hate winter and the cold. I look outside in my garden and I see snow and it is freezing cold. The winter has been way to long (it is every year). I LONG so much for summer and my thoughts and passion are so much directed to the memories of the hot burning sun, wunderful beaches and a lush nature. Here below you can see some of my strong SAUDADE.
Summer please come soon
The winter is holding me like a cocoon
The passion for the heat is strong
It has been cold far to long
Love, Summer and Lush