What is Nostalgia? Know its history, origin and usage
Remember that time when you saw those college students strolling around the street, joking to each other laughing hysterically; which reminded you of your college days. You spent your whole journey back home thinking about how fun, precious and invaluable those days were to you.
Almost everyone of us know this word and have encountered it quite often in our lives. According to Wikipedia, Nostalgia is a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. It is one of our favourite emotions, a sanctuary, a safe haven and a peaceful anchorage. A getaway to be precise, where we just leave all the worries behind and think of those good old gone days.
Where does Nostalgia come from: Etymology?
The word Nostalgia, like most of the others in English is derived from Greek language. The word finds its origin from Greek words: nostos which means return home and algos meaning pain. That makes Nostalgia an obsessive suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return. Merged with German word Heimweh, meaning homesickness, the word Nostalgia was coined in late 17th century.
What is the history of Nostalgia?
Late 17th century: The Discovery
In the late 17th century, Johannes Hofer, then medical student noticed strange illness affecting Swiss mercenaries serving abroad. It’s symptoms included fatigue, insomnia, elevated heartbeat, indigestion and fever were so strong, the soldiers were discharged. Johannes discovered that the condition was not due to any physical sickness but intense yearning of their ‘mountain’ homeland. Later, he went on to name the term Nostalgia from the Greek words Nostos and algos.
18th century: An illness
Initially, Nostalgia was particularly a Swiss affliction. Some doctors believed that the constant sound of cowbells on the Alps caused trauma to the ears and brains, the commanders even forbade their army from singing traditional Swiss Songs. But with migration increasing world wide, various groups felt nostalgic often. Anyone separated from their homeland for a long time was vulnerable to nostalgia.
Early 20th Century: A condition
By the early 20th century, professionals no longer viewed it as a sickness but as a mental condition similar to depression. Psychologists of the time speculated that it represented longing to return to one’s homeland or difficulty to let go of one’s past. Over the next decade, explanation of Nostalgia broadened furthermore. over time, with global communication and better human understanding, It was not homesickness anymore, but a general longing of one’s past. The world does not consider it a disease anymore, it is now a poignant and pleasant experience.