Books

Hygge (‘hoo-guh’) – Danish happiness; where do I find it?

My favourite time of the year, especially in England, is Winter. There is nothing more hygge than a freezing Norfolk morning over the Christmas holidays and waking up, making my first coffee, and wrapping myself in a rug with my fur babies in front of the wood burner, as it bellows out heat and roars up the chimney with the wind. That is the ultimate moment of being hyggeligt to me, and perhaps it is to many of you too (I imagine without the cats).

Reaching that hygge state in New Zealand is not dissimilar; it’s a cold evening with the curtains closed, candles and lanterns lit, and classical, calming music playing as I cook something hearty with a glass of red wine. New Zealand hygge is more about Luis and I, or hyggeligt alone, as our family are in the UK. New Zealand sets the stage for my 2nd favourite Hyggeligt moments.

When I went to sit and write this, I became frustrated that I couldn’t put a single sentence down (probably because I went to a party dressed as 118118 last night). So, I stopped, and in thinking about todays Sunday inspiration I transformed my living room into a place of hygge; curtains closed, music in the background, fresh sheets on the bed to look forward to snuggling in tonight, and candles that light up the room in my lantern to a level of ultimate cosiness.

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Ultimate hygge for writing

What is this hygge? You may be wondering…

“Hygge (or to be ‘hyggeligt’) doesn’t require learning ‘how to hygge’, adopting it as a lifestyle or buying anything. It simply requires being present and recognising a moment that feels so sweet, cosy, charming, special or nice that you just have to name the moment,” as author of Hygge House, Alex Beauchamp, explains.

It took me all of 6 sentences above to define my moments of hygge to you, and that’s because other countries, such as England, are just not lucky enough to have a word that hygge translates into. Author of The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking, also CEO of The Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, ofrees some words from countries around the world that come close to translating hygge:

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Gezelligheid – The Netherlands – “cosy, quaint or nice”

Koselig – Norway – “a feeling of warmth, intimacy and getting together”

Hominess – Canada – “a state of shutting out the outside world…a feeling of community, warmth and togetherness”

Gemütlichkeit – Germany – “state of warmth, friendliness and belonging, often to describe the atmosphere at a German beer garden”

You get the gist?

Anna Altman in The New Yorker explains, that “cozy comes close” and that hygge “derives from a sixteenth-century Norwegian term, hugga, meaning “to comfort” or “to console,” which is related to the English word ‘hug’”.

So for us English, who ar fearful of emotion and emotive sentiment, perhaps all we need is a hug, or to be the hugger?!

What can only be described as a hygge movement, the world has now had a glimpse into Danish comfort and wants to reach these Danish inspired goals with their own hyggeligt moments.

Why do we listen to the Danish, you ask? Because the Danish are, once again, the happiest nation in the world, according to the World Happiness Report conducted by the UN in 2016.

Everyone clearly wants to know how they’ve achieved such a prestigious title, and Hygge is an obvious starting point because it is believed to be one of the greatest attributes to their happiness, although not the sole cause. Who doesn’t wan to experiment with free, comforting, little snippets of life to experience the wonders of hygge?

Take a look at Wiking’s inspiring hygge manifesto and see how to experience hygge in your home, at your office, and even in your garden – the key to an immediate hygge sensation is candles (FYI):

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Having this book in your home is in itself hygge – one book has never brought me so much happiness with it’s gorgeous cover and pages. Thanks Meik and Penguin!

Want more hygge ideas? Or just something happiness related to read on your Sunday? Follow @chloe.blades and tag me in your moments of hygge on Instagram! Or follow @sundayedits on Twitter x

 

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