Saturday, April 22, 2017

Szimpatikus, Sobremesa and Solarfri

The S words I have for you today are linked by one thing, sheer goodness.

We’ll start with Szimpatikus, a Hungarian word that describes the good vibes you get when meeting someone for the first time.

Some of my closest friends today are people about whom I had a ‘good’ feeling, the first time I saw them. It’s not the basis upon which I embark on new friendships, but in hindsight, I have realized that there are some people that I simply did feel extremely positive about, the very first time I met them.

I don’t know the reason for Szimpatikus. Maybe it might have to do with the feelings with which we approach others. Maybe we can tell when someone has good intentions towards us, and maybe that translates into those good vibes.

Of course, I have never had bad vibes the first time I met someone, so I’m glad about that. I hope that means that I keep a positive attitude towards others.

Have you ever experienced Szimpatikus?

The Spanish have yet another interesting word that English could adopt. Sobremesa describes the particularly happy state of affairs around a table, when the food is long since eaten, and the appetites are all satisfied, but the conversation keeps flowing.

I love Sobremesa. I’ve enjoyed it with family and friends alike.

Once the hunger pangs are stilled, you talk about other good times that this Sobremesa reminds you of, of the folk you miss who should have been around this table, of your dreams and hopes.

There’s a lot of laughter and deep and fulfilling conversation.
The clock ticks swiftly while a Sobremesa is on, but the loud laughter and song, and the endless conversation prevents anyone from hearing its ticking, and when someone finally realizes how much time has elapsed, it is with a faint sense of regret, wishing these moments could be stretched further. But nay, life’s struggles and compulsions intrude.

Do you enjoy Sobremesa?

The fun word of the day is Sólarfrí, an Icelandic word that describes an unexpected holiday that workers are granted so they can enjoy a particularly sunny/warm day.

Good to know they have their priorities right.

In India, we get a Sólarfrí when it rains, so of course, technically, we can’t call it a Sólarfrí, but you get what I’m trying to say. Schools are shut when there is a heavy downpour.

A few companies in a couple of states in South India declared a holiday on the day that Kabali, a film, was due for release. The leading man of Kabali has a huge fan following, and it was expected that thousands of people would play truant from work and keep their phones switched off in order to avoid being disturbed by their workplaces.

Believing that “if you can’t beat ‘em, you must join ‘em,” the companies declared a Sólarfrí, earning tremendous goodwill from their employees in the process.

Were you ever given a Sólarfrí?


  1. I was given a Solarfri once to go watch the latest Star Wars on release day. It wasn't company-wide but it was our entire department.

    And yes, I've been hit by szimpatikus on more than one occasion. It's a marvelous feeling. :-D

    1. Lucky you, Jz. I've never benefited from Solarfri.
      But Szimpatikus, I've been fortunate to experience often enough. Today I have warm friendships with those for whom I felt szimpatikus.

  2. Hi Cynthia - love the goodness given through these 3 words ... this is a great theme - cheers Hilary

  3. Ah, the Italian 'sympatico' might come from the Hungarian word? The area where my mother's family is from in northern Italy was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
    I would like to enjoy sobremesa for a longer time but I always have to get the food put away before it spoils. Maybe I should hire a maid?
    And here we only get snow days, no days off to actually enjoy the sunshine.

    Great words today that many of us can relate to. Thanks.

    Denise at My Life in Retirement Steen Castle, Antwerp

    1. Thank you for letting me know about Szimpatikus' Italian connection.
      As for Sobremesa, you could get your guests to help you put away the food, then re-congregate for sobremesa.

    2. Simpático is a Greek word, from syn ('with') + pathos ('passion, feeling'), and it exists in different languages,with related meanings.

      And sobremesa is essential to Spanish culture! Of course, nobody has the time o ordinary days. But on holidays it can last until dinner time. No worries about retiring the food: you can do that, or all the people can do that, and sit again...

      Eva - Mail Adventures

    3. Yes, some feelings are so good that almost every culture can relate to them, and has a word for them too. Happy to know about sobremesa. Our extended family gatherings are always an occasion for sobremesa.

  4. Three very nice words! Yeah, "simpatico" does seem to be related. It's great when you get that feeling, but it is hard to define. Magical, in a way!

    1. Totally, magical. Some people are just right for us, and when they enter our lives, we get an inkling.

  5. Look, a Hungarian word! I have been struggling with this word not existing in the English language, every time I want to say someone is 'sympathic' to me... :D

    The Multicolored Diary: WTF - Weird Things in Folktales

    1. So glad to find this word, Zalka. I think it is just perfect. I've lost count of the number of times I've needed it.

  6. Sobremesa is a lovely word that summarizes those long conversations spent reminiscing and joking with your loved ones! Great post.

  7. Oh, yes, Anjali, Sometimes I treasure those moments even more than the food. Particularly the warm cosy feelings that descend upon everyone.



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