I have an odd fascination with words that don’t translate. It all started years ago,with 気持ちいい (kimochi/ii); a Japanese word that relates to a particular feeling of enjoyment. So when I heard someone talking about the Danish word hygge, I knew I had to investigate further.
Luckily enough my investigation coincided with a rather interesting email. An email asking if I would like to attend a talk with Not on The High Street and Signe Johansen – author of How to Hygge. The panellists included Skandium’s found Magnus Englund, and Not on The High Street’s director Sally Bendelow. I was eager to hear more, so I jumped at the chance. Little did I know it would lead me down a very interesting, familiar rabbit hole. One that would leave me asking ‘what is hygge?’
What is Hygge?
Hygge is not about buying a new throw for your sofa (although Wool Couture‘s is tempting). Nor is it about lighting a bunch of candles. Although both these things can contribute to a sense of hygge. Confusing, right? Well that’s because hygge is more of a concept, than an entity. It isn’t about material objects, it’s the sense of comfort you get from them. Well, amongst other things.
It’s about creating a comforting atmosphere. A place where you feel at home.
How Do I Get It?
For those that fancy a little Danish in their lives (no I’m not talking about pastries or Mads Mikkelsen), hygge is relatively easy to achieve. It’s about taking a step back from our hectic lives, and taking the time to appreciate the little things. Simple things such as spending time with our families/friends, or trying out that recipe for cinnamon rolls that you always wanted to bake. During the colder, darker months, a lot of Danes spend more time at home. They invite friends and family over, enjoy some good food and drink, and relax. And yes, there may be a candle or two involved.
Can We Really Get Hygge?
Hygge is not a new term, however it is having it’s moment in British culture right now. Autumn and Winter in the UK are characteristically dark, cold, and damp. Something our Danish cousins know about all too well. It’s at this time of year that people like to cosy up at home with their loved ones, pop on Netflix, and snuggle into the sofa with some comfort food. Not much different to what I was talking about before, right?
Denmark is well known as being the happiest country in the world. So it makes sense that us Brits would want in on it too. What with current political and economical events, we’ve all been left looking elsewhere for comfort. And I think hygge may just be it.
I’ll be writing a more in-depth guide on How to Get Hygge soon, so keep your eyes peeled!