The third cultural concept explored comes from Denmark.
Hygge translates directly as “cozy” — though it actually connotes much more. Combine the ambiance of a warmly glowing fireplace with brightly lit candles surrounded by friends and family snacking on wonderful food where everyone is snuggled under blankets drinking cups of cocoa while the snow falls softly outside.
Hygge (hooga) is the idea that helps Denmark regularly rate as one of the happiest countries in the world — Danes have regularly been some of the most joyful in the world for over 40 years that the U.S. has been studying them — despite long, dark winters.
Loosely translated at “togetherness,” and “coziness,” though it’s not a physical state, it’s a mental one.
According to VisitDenmark (the country’s official tourism site): “The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family — that’s hygge too. And let’s not forget the eating and drinking — preferably sitting around the table for hours on end discussing the big and small things in life.”
Hygge’s high season is winter, and Christmas lights, candles galore, and other manifestations of warmth and light, including warm alcoholic beverages, are key to the concept.
Still a little confused and wondering how you could cultivate hygge in your life?
This Danish NPR commenter sums up some specifics: “Hygge is a deep sense of cozy that can originate from many different sources. Here is a good example from my life : a cloudy winter Sunday morning at the country house, fire in the stove and 20 candles lit to dispel the gloom. My husband, puppy and I curled up on our sheepskins wearing felt slippers, warm snuggly clothes and hands clasped around hot mugs of tea. A full day ahead with long walks on the cold beach, back for pancake lunch, reading, more snuggling, etc. This is a very hyggligt day.”
Now that sounds do-able, doesn’t it?
When we lived up in the mountains, we were lucky enjoy to have many hyggligt days.
Now that we live in the valley, we still have them but our definition of ‘snowy’ has changed a lot. 🙂