Hiraeth is a Welsh concept of longing for a home which you can’t return to or one that was never yours. not necessarily a house, but a homely feeling such as love. It can be loosely translated as ‘nostalgia’, or, more commonly, ‘homesickness’ for a home to which you can’t return.
Many Welsh people claim ‘hiraeth’ is a word which cannot be translated, meaning more than solely “missing something” or “missing home.” To some, it implies the meaning of missing a time, an era, or a person. It is associated with the bittersweet memory of missing something or someone, while being grateful of that/ their existence but you can’t go back to him/her/it.
Hiraeth vs. Fernweh vs. Wanderlust
Fernweh, as previously covered here, describes an ache or homesickness for faraway places. The farsickness or longing for far-off places that is Fernweh – is basically a very very extreme version of wanderlust – and it is the antitheses of Hiraeth. All amazingly beautiful travel words in any case!
Use them to your advantage next time you hit the road wandering and lusting around.
Similar concepts to Hiraeth
The concept of Hiraeth exists in many lanuages. The Cornish equivalent is ‘hireth’ (very similar as Welsh and Cornish share common linguistic roots). Our featured travel word further contains loads of similarities with the Portuguese concept of saudade (a key theme in Fado music), Russian toska (тоска) often used in literature, Galician morriña, Romanian dor, Ethiopian tizita (ትዝታ), Gaelic cianalas and German Sehnsucht.
Which one is your favourite word to describe this type of homesickness?