Brazil the country of carnival, football and nuts, also has a word for the absence of happiness – a term of such beauty that it bestows a perverse joy on its users. “Saudade” represents a feeling so fundamental to the human experience, because, as the philosophers Kierkegaard wrote there is ‘bliss in melancholy and sadness’. Scientist over the years have concurred with Kierkegaard and researchers from the University of New South Wales found that sadness can help improve attention to detail, increase perseverance, and promote generosity. Most of us will have experienced a bitter sweet pleasure in moments of Melancholy – reminiscing flicking through old photographs or caring about anything or anyone enough to miss them when they are born. the only way to avoid sadness and regret completely is by avoiding life – and we can only appreciate the light if we have experienced shade. This is why Saudade matters.
Originally associated with both the rise and fall of the Portuguese empire, Saudade started life as an expression of sorrow felt for those who departed for long journey’s, with survivors feeling that something was missing in their lives thereafter. But Saudade’s ascendence in Brazil is from the perspective of the people newly arrived in a strange land – often against their will – rather than those left behind. the Portuguese made themselves so at home in Brazil that it is the only country in south America that speaks Portuguese. In other words there is whole log of Saudade going on.
Saudade often carries a sense that the thing you are nostalgic for won’t happen again. As the seventeenth century Portuguese writer Manual De Melo put it Saudade is ‘ a pleasure you suffers, and ailment you enjoy’ . It has inspired numerous artists over the years and a wealth of classical images of Saudade show a father looking out to sea which out if his son will ever come back, or a widow wearing because her love has been lost in a ship wreck, of children growing up father less because their dad has been deported. You know, the usual cheerful fare
‘It is a longing for someone or something that you don’t have anymore that you love – be ti food, or weather, or a place you have lived or a person, ‘ Today there is an affectionate rivalry as to whether Brazil or Portugal ‘ owned ‘ Saudade, but in therms of scale and suffering, Brazil wins. The majority of Brazilian population was formed by the influx of Portuguese settlers and Africans slaves, mostly Bantu and west African people, so Brazil history is messy and painful. Even once slavery had been outlawed in the nineteenth century economic necessity forced many to leave their homes and the people they loved.