Hiraeth is a comforting Welsh word that describes a mix of feelings or emotions. Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru translates it as:
‘grief or sadness after the lost or departed, longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness, homesickness.’
Each individual may have their own thoughts on what these feelings of hiraeth mean to them.
Think about the feeling you get when you’re away from someone or something you love, for example, such as your partner, or the feeling you get when you’re away from your beloved homeland, which in my case, would be Cymru.
Also consider expressions such as ‘There’s no place like home’ (Does unman yn debyg i gartref) or ‘Home sweet home’ (Hen le bendigedig yw cartref). The word hiraeth conveys this feeling of being away from home perfectly, as you cannot get the same feeling elsewhere. It’s your place of comfort.
Not only, but it is also a feeling of nostalgia or a longing for a particular person, place or memory you’ve kept safely, and sadly, you may never revisit it later on in life.
Now, lets look at a few real-life examples where you could use the word hiraeth:
Roedd hiraeth ar Alys pan aeth hi i’r brifysgol am y tro cyntaf.
Alys was homesick when she went to university for the first time.
Roeddwn i’n hiraethu am fynd adref. Does unman yn debyg i gartref.
I was longing to go home. There’s no place like home.
Mae meddwl amdano’n codi hiraeth arna i.
Thinking about him makes me long for him.
Mae gweld lluniau o fy nhaith i Gymru yn codi hiraeth arna i.
Seeing pictures of my trip to Wales makes me feel nostalgic.
Nid yw Sara eisiau gwrando ar y gân oherwydd ei fod yn codi gormod o hiraeth arni.
Sara doesn’t want to listen to the song as it makes her feel too nostalgic.
Everybody feels some level of nostalgia or longing for something in life, which makes this word relevant to everyone. With these examples in mind, what arouses feelings of hiraeth within you?