The truth about danish hygge and how to do it.
For a very long time, Danes won the title of the happiest people in the world. Even though now they are third, it is still a big success. According to some people, they are the happiest due to thing that they call “hygge”. And by now, you can hear about hygge everywhere. It is in the furniture department along with all the candles and other decorations, there are books written about hygge and nowadays even some tv love to make a story about hygge. This blog is description and opinion on what hygge actually is from someone who lives in Denmark.
The mysterious word
A lot of mystery in hygge is the fact that it is something hard to describe in English with just one word. And that is true, you cannot translate hygge with one word, but that doesn’t mean that it is a mystery. Hygge is a feeling. More importantly, it is a positive feeling. You can have it for example when you are sitting with your friend and it is nice, warm, you’re not stressed and it is just nice. You don’t need to do anything important, just sit, talk and enjoy yourself. The English word for it would be probably “cozy”.
But it doesn’t mean that you need a friend to have hygge. You can be all alone, playing video games, drawing pictures or anything else. You can also be on a family dinner or cuddled up with your partner. All these can be hygge as long as it is a nice and cozy atmosphere. Because the atmosphere is really the crucial here.
In Danish, you can also hear a lot that something was hyggeligt – for example, a restaurant or a meeting. And that just means that particular thing has a great atmosphere.
However, it can also be a verb, Danes can tell you that they did hygge. And in this concept, it means that they enjoyed themselves. In future tense (Jeg vill hygge sig/I will do hygge) it can also mean that you will be looking forward to it.
Hygge in the books and tv
And then hygge went public and what happened is quite weird considering what the word actually means. From all of the sudden, you hear about all the decoration that you need to have in order to have hygge. All the blankets, candles, flowers and other things.
I would argue that you don’t because hygge is a feeling, so as long as you feel that, doesn’t matter how many candles you have on the table. A lot of books would like to tell you which topics are allowed and which are not. That has roots in the fact, that a lot of people would start to argue when talking about politics. But that is not necessarily true as long as you won’t cross the line and start offending people. Hygge supposed to be a place where you feel safe and comfortable. And your friends need to feel the same way so for once you need to be able to respect different opinions. The very fact of hygge according to most of Danes I know is that you feel comfortable, doesn’t matter how many nice objects you are surrounded by or what topics are you talking about.
Another aspect of hygge is the fact that Danes have a great balance between work and private life, so they actually do have time to sit down with friends and not do anything. And if you don’t want to be stressed, maybe it is something for you to concentrate. And if those books will help you with that, go for it. In fact, go for anything that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. If it is a decoration, so be it. But it is important to know, that it doesn’t have to be the way you personally hygge.