Saudade: The Love That Remains

When it comes to the word Saudade, there are plenty of things that come in mind. The 1974’s Moacir Santos album, the 2011’s Japanese movie, the 1994’s song by Chris Rea, or the 2014’s Thievery Corporation album and many more. But what about this word or expression that led these artists, musicians, and director to make so many projects named after it?

Being nostalgic for a time that you didn’t experience can be defined by cascading reminiscence bump, a phenomena when people not only resonate to the events from their own youth but the events from their grandparents and parents youth as well but as a form of musical memory. But Saudade is somewhat quite opposite of cascading reminiscence bump or reminiscence bump in general. It is the longing for a time that someone once experienced and loved fondly but know that they might never experience it again. It’s a repressed belief that the object of longing might never come back.

Saudade is a word in Portuguese and Galician that is almost untranslatable in English. It is an awareness of the absence of a person or thing that puts someone in a deep emotional state of sadness. Nevertheless, the word missingness alone does not sustain the feeling of deep emotion and impulse attached to the word saudade. Saudade can be felt toward those whose whereabouts and certainties are unknown, they can be a lost lover or a family member who went missing, or died. It can be a moment of realization that how important something or someone was in one’s life. It’s the urge to live in a time that once gave happiness, excitement and pleasure.

Some specialists suggest that the word Saudade may have originated in the time of great Portuguese discoveries. A deep sorrow was felt for those who departed for long journeys, and too often disappeared in shipwrecks or died in battle by those who left behind. But It was not until 15th century when the great Portuguese discoveries were started whereas the word Saudade can be found in the Cancioneiro da Ajuda (a collection of Galician-Portuguese lyric poems) by poets of the time of King Denis (9 October 1261 – 7 January 1325) dated in the 13th century.

Saudade is similar but not equal to nostalgia. It’s not the sate of mind where you reminiscence about the happy and sad emotions of life. Rather, it’s a glimmer of the happiness that you once experienced in the long past but feel the grief knowing you can’t restore or reclaim the feeling again. Nostalgia implies the feeling someone has for a loved one or a time that has passed away or gone missing while Saudade is the awareness of deficiency. It can be a rush of sadness coupled with a paradoxical joy derived from acceptance of fate and the hope of recovering or substituting what is lost by something that will either fill in the void or provide consolation.

Photo from Pexels


4 thoughts on “Saudade: The Love That Remains

  1. Thanks for the info! the post is quite informative and does present three good perceptions on the topic. I do like the finish more than the beginning though.

    Liked by 1 person

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