Monday, December 19, 2011

hüzün


Hüzün is one of those delightfully untranslatable words— a Turkish word which is closest to its English sister, melancholy. But it's more than melancholy; in Sufi philosophy, hüzün is a spiritual anguish from the distance felt between oneself and god. It's a sense of longing, perhaps for something we are not exactly sure of. This collective yearning can mostly be felt during the winter, when the skies turn dark over Istanbul, the colour vanishes from people's clothes and faces, and everything sort of moans onward. People are quieter, and seem to breathe at a much slower, greyer pace. It's a poetic suffering, permission to feel deeper, to ache.

6 comments:

Ontheroad said...

I had to look up the word and fond the book by Orhan Pamuk about Istanbul. Thanks for a new discovery and more of your great work.

Beth said...

I've been fascinated by this word ever since reading Pamuk and wrote about it on my blog; it describes the feeling of autumn in Montreal too, but I didn't know about the deeper meaning for the Sufis. Yes. May I have permission to quote this in a piece I'm writing (giving you credit of course!)

szaza said...

Thank you, Ontheroad— and you are most welcome.

Of course you may, Beth! Sometimes I think Pamuk exaggerates, but there is a poetic aching here that is present in the autumn and winter months. The minute the blossoms appear on trees and a layer of clothing is shed, that vanishes, and you see Istanbullus enjoying walks along the Bosphorus, outdoor çays... People become lighter, more colourful, as does the city.

lilasvb said...

nice sketches

szaza said...

Thank you so much, Lila!

Agnès Bolley-Vittot said...

I love your post- so interesting to read about a culture so rich and intriguing.Is Huzun close to the meaning "Spleen ' used by Baudelaire and Rimbaud?
would definitely plan a stop at a Hamman in Turkey - if I can schedule a trip there/ Cheers
PS look forward to your new adventure in Vietnam