Hiraeth : A Feeling

Some days back, I was surfing the internet looking for rare/amazing words that are used very less. I came across many of them actually, the word I used in naming my web page is also in those few words. Then I came across this word – ‘Hiraeth’ and I fell in love with it instantly. The meaning attached to this word, what I felt is amazing, painful yet beautiful. The meaning is not just a meaning it is a strong feeling.

Hiraeth: a homesickness for a home to which you can not return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.


Hiraeth is a Welsh word for which there is no direct English translation but the online Welsh-English dictionary of the University of Wales, Lampeter likens it to homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over the lost or departed

While reading and re-reading this word and its meaning I somehow (i don’t know why but) got the image of thousands of people from Syria fleeing from their home with a feeling of homesickness for a home to which they can not return(at least not in near future). These desperate families are forced to leave Syria by the long war and are heading to neighbouring countries and to Europe, causing the continent’s worst refugee crisis in 60 years. Those children who survive the perilous journey arrive physically and mentally exhausted. Fleeing from home is not the only problem, frequent news of migrant’s deaths along the central Mediterranean route is also rising.

Though the countries like Germany, Turkey, Libya, Jordan, Sweden etc are welcoming the refugees with arms wide open and maybe these migrants will find some peace and place to restart their lives but will they be able to overcome this feeling of Hiraeth. And this is not the case only with Syrian people, at some point in time we all become refugees for one or the another reason and feel Hiraeth. Sometimes it’s the homesickness for a home one lived in and sometimes it’s the homesickness for the people who made one feel like home. The tragedy with the feeling of Hiraeth is no matter how much one wants to return, they just can’t. At times the door is locked from inside and at other times one locks it behind them when they leave.

One can try, fly, lie and even die but just can’t return back to a home…… which maybe never was.

But what if even one gets to return and find it entirely totally different from what one left? Won’t that feeling be worst than that feeling of homesickness? Now the home you have returned to does not recognise you as before. This home you have returned to does not love you as before. Now you are just like any other stranger this home has ever witnessed. One would look this home with the same perspective of belongingness but this home is new, cleaned and even the fragrance of familiarity has faded. This is what one does feel at times in relationships one was in or with the person one was with.

Hiraeth, if felt is not just a word it is a lot more than just a word.


P.S: Featured Pic used in this post is clicked by me.