Morriña, a beautiful Galician-Spanish word that describes a state of sadness, of longing for what is lost or will never be. It is called saudade in Portuguese, a word that has a surprisingly expansive Wikipedia entry (in English) on the subject of sadness and longing – seriously, have a look. Saudade was listed by the BBC as being the seventh most difficult word to translate in the entire world.

Morriña is a word I have only ever read once, on a soccer website. The piece was a description of the north-east city of A Coruña in Spain, situated on a chilly part of the coast that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, where as a pastime locals sit silently on rocks and look over the ocean in pensive longing, with morriña. A friend of mine who had been to Cuba told me that something similar happens there.

A Coruña was the place where the locals pinned all of their sporting-based dreams and hope on a single game of soccer at home in A Coruña in 1994, a stadium situated right next to the ocean where one can feel the spray come in. The Deportivo La Coruña team missed a penalty kick in the last minute and someone else won the Spanish ‘premiership’ as a direct result, leading to more anguished glances out over the waves for a small city that had up until then still never seen glory. Ten years later they had another game at home in 2004 to reach the European ‘Grand Final’, but this time someone scored a penalty kick against them and the team immediately faded from the pinnacle the year after, disappearing into the ether of what might have been, provoking a new longing for what could have been, might have been, had been, but consequently never was.

There are always new things out there, but can we argue with the heart when it tells us that a particular person and moment that is lost can never be replaced?


2 thoughts on “Morriña

  1. That is a pretty word, and one I can relate to feeling. I like the imagery of looking out to sea, for something far away or someone who could come back. It really evokes that emotion of ‘longing’. Nice post.

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