The sweet word Saudade


The sweet word “saudade”

The boarders of my language are boarders of one’s understanding some smart guy once said. We’ve heard the word “saudade” many times before, read translations and interpretations that said something like “a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist …”, it’s like a longing for something unavailingly, the love that remains after something is gone, it’s different than just missing something, because that subject of longing can be present in the moment but might not be in the future. It’s…

Well, you can’t describe it with words. Ask somebody in Portugal and the people start to stummer, they fall into gesticulating, they are suddenly lacking words. It’s a feeling you can’t get a hold of by words. But sitting there with this old lady who providently fed us Bacalao – she who seemed neither happy nor sad, just the lost youth in her face and the present youth in her bustling movements – was the closest we got to get a glimpse of a word unique to the Portuguese.

Saudade inspired music in form of the fado, literature as well as the other arts – and maybe even how a whole culture perceives life, love, death. It’s said to be deeply knit into the Portuguese mentality – or even represents the core of it.