A Hora da Saudade

The long campaigns of cod fishing in Newfoundland, lasting from April till the end of November, kept the fishermen away from home for many months. The fishermen absence, associated with the nostalgic feeling of who saw them leave, evolved in the Saudade.

Saudade is a very particular Portuguese word that describes a deep emotional state of nostalgia and/or melancholy towards someone important to us. We can say that it is the memory of feelings, experiences, places or events that previously brought us emotions, pleasure and well-being, that trigger the senses, whether they are happy or sad.

For the cod fishers’ families, this long absence was hard to endure.   In the first years of Estado Novo, it was created “A Hora da Saudade” as a way of relieving this burden. This was an initiative of the newspaper “Diário da Manhã”, in cooperation with “Rádio Emissora Nacional”. This programme, through radiotelephony, put into contact the men at sea and their families, improving communication which until then was only made through correspondence. The transmission was only possible from land to sea and not the other way around: the fishermen could hear what the messages from their families but not answer back. “A Hora da Saudade” from one side was a moment of propagandistic exaltation, but it was also a way to ease the anguish of absences for the fishermen families. 

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