Nostalgia is a Greek word composed of nóstos (return) and álgos (pain)
We use it today for any feeling of longing for something we experienced. This is not necessarily the same as homesickness, which can be a real disease.
In Homers Odyssey nostalgia and homesickness both are close together. Odysseus wanted „to see only the smoke of Ithaca's hills rise and then to die“.
For Katsanzakis Odysseus this is not even enough!
Ithaca seems too small and narrow-minded to him after his return. He sets out on a new journey to the South Pole, where he dies.
And Kavafis famous poem „Ithaca" is about the "long journey, full of adventure and knowledge", the journey of life.
The topic occupied the Greeks again and again in their long history.
What do we do with nostalgia
Modern times have brought thousands of experiences.
Refugees, displaced persons, migrants, immigrants, expatriates, seasonal workers, travelers, all live somewhere else for some time.
And everyone is moving more and more, not staying in one place.
What do you take with you when you move?
Not only the absolutely necessary. You take also items with sentimental value. The photo of the parents as well as a certain cuddly pillow and personally used spices.
Home is not a place, but a feeling.
Therefore you don't have to stick backwards, but live in the new place with new friends
However, you need to remember.
Travel and memorabilia
Traveling brings both:
Being away and coming back.
„From many people he saw the cities and learned the thoughts“ writes Homer.
Coming back, we bring souvenirs, as a gift and for ourselves.
„Souvenir“ comes from „come into mind“, that is create a memory.
So how logical is it to buy souvenirs like snow globes from hot countries? Or the same typical stuff in any place in the world?
Good souvenirs evoke a feeling and make us remember our own personal experience of sometimes and somewhere.
And good gifts from elsewhere can bring us closer to the culture and history of a country.
A new nostalgia today
The pandemic does not let us travel.
People are sitting at home watching the slide shows of their travel photos and imagine traveling again.
Photos really help, but there is an inflation of images today.
Souvenirs and memorabilia can have more value, when they are not only something momentary and immediately passing.
In one of his paintings about the return of Ulysses, the Italian painter De Chirico painted the man in a small boat in a room in a small puddle of water, passing cupboard and armchair.
Everything else must be filled by fantasy and memory.
Write your thoughts about nostalgia in a comment and Share!
Don't miss to check our selection of contemporary Greek memorabilia in our brick and mortar store when you visit Peloponnese.
Till then find selected items in our eshop.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This license lets others distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon this work, even commercially, as long as they credit and link KUKUVAYA for the original creation.