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Hiraeth (pronounced [hiraɪ̯θ][1]) is a Welsh concept of longing for home. 'Hiraeth' is a word which cannot be completely translated, meaning more than solely "missing something" or "missing home." It implies the meaning of missing a time, an era, or a person - including homesickness for what may not exist any longer. It is associated with the bittersweet memory of missing something or someone, while being grateful of that/ their existence. It can also be used to describe a longing for a homeland, potentially of your ancestors, where you may have never been. Similarly, the Cornish and Breton equivalents are ‘hyreth’ and ‘hiraezh’; Welsh, Cornish and Breton share common linguistic roots. Hiraeth bears considerable similarities with the Portuguese concept of saudade (a key theme in Fado music), Galician morriña, Asturian señardá, Romanian dor, Gaelic cianalas, Russian toska (тоска), German Sehnsucht and Ethiopian tizita (ትዝታ).[citation needed]

Hiraeth, if compared to an English word, would be described as nostalgia, homesickness, yearning, or longing[citation needed]. Nostalgia is a sentimental, melancholic longing or wistful affection for the past which is associated with happy memories. Homesickness is a feeling of yearning for home. In the Welsh language, they use this term as it can be referring to a home, a person, or even a time. This word can also be linked to missing a home that is no longer your home. As used in a sentence: “After the forest fire, many people’s hiraeth to their home was impossible since all of them had burned to the ground.”

The depth in the word goes deeper than just that, as it seems to be multi-layered with varieties of feeling of homesickness. So the word refers to missing a home, a place, or a time that you cannot return to, does not exist anymore, or never even was. Hiraeth is associated with feelings of sadness, melancholic, and missing. In the English language, they believe that it pertains to a longing in which your spirit still lives or feels the most at home. It is not attached to a particular place but rather a place in which your spirit feels comfortable and in peace. Some may feel hiraeth for a place they can only imagine.[citation needed] Others may feel Hiraeth for a country or homeland that they or their ancestors may have lived in. The word can sometimes be coined as an irrational longing for something that never was.[citation needed]

By the Welsh people, they use the word hiraeth to describe a sense of admiration or nostalgia for the way that their country once was. Nonetheless, it creates a feeling that taps into your emotions. When understanding this emotion, we may know how to manage it.[citation needed]

Emotional intelligence is linked to knowing how to understand and deal with these emotions, even the ones we cant translate into an English word, but know that this feeling is familiar. As Daniel Goleman defines it in his book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Emotional intelligence, is “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and our relationships.” This trait can help strengthen relationships, empathize and relate more with people. We understand struggles and sadness better when we notice the reasons behind it. Ethically, people argue that those with high emotional intelligence can be skilled manipulators of emotions.[citation needed]

If Hiraeth is a feeling of emotions that we can encounter often, then its best that we truly understand where it originated from, and how we can manage this feeling.[citation needed]


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