The other day I came across some inspiring words in other languages, for which no similar words or phrases existed in English. These words were delightful and I absolutely felt that these needed to be introduced into the English language or borrowed even! I picked out the ones that I felt truly captured the spirit of happiness and taught us that joy is found in the experiential moment. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I enjoyed discovering them!
Aware — a brief, bittersweet, fleeting moment that exudes divine beauty (Japanese)
Bon vivant — a person who enjoys a sociable and luxurious lifestyle (French).
Cafuné — the pleasure of running through a loved one’s hair (Brazilian Portuguese)
Dadirri — an intense spiritual practice for listening respectfully (Australian Aboriginal)
Eudaimonia — true fulfilment through flourishing work and love life (Ancient Greek)
Fēng yùn — charming and graceful (Mandarin Chinese)
Gigil — an uncontrollable desire to pinch or squeeze a loved one(Tagalog)
Heimat — fondness for a place where we belong (German)
Ilunga — willing to forgive initially, tolerate if it happens again, but never a third time (Tshiluba)
Jijivisha — a gregarious person who loves life (Hindi)
Koselig — cosy (Norwegian)
Mamihlapinatapei — a look that suggests an unspoken but mutual desire(Yagán)
Nirvāna — enlightenment (Sanskrit)
Queesting — give a lover permission to come to one’s bed for chatter (Dutch)
Ré nao — a bustling place where everyone wants to be (Chinese)
Sisu — to persevere unconditionally even if no reward exists at the end (Finnish)
Tarab — ecstasy or enchantment under the spell of music (Arabic)
Utepils — enjoy a beer outside on the first summer day (Norwegian)
Volta — savouring the atmosphere (Greek)
Waldeinsamkeit — the connection to nature that a solitary, peaceful walk in the woods brings (German)
Ya’aburnee — literal translation means ‘you bury me’ but it is a way to express that I would rather die before you to spare me the unbearable pain of living without you (Arabic)
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I personally derive great joy from writing and sharing my words with you. Are there any ‘rituals for happiness’ that you would like to share — feel free to add them below! In the meantime, here’s a short poem I penned for you to ponder!
I take a walk in the grand forest, bathing in the glorious sun
Feeling an intense connection to nature
I savour this moment which I know is fleeting
How many more days do I have to capture
The essence of seemingly blissful eternal life
Before we too fail to feature?
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