Many languages have a word…
or two that can’t be directly translated into another tongue. In Denmark, one such word is “hygge” (pronounced huuga). The nearest English gets is “cosy”, or “companionable”, and the concept is catching on throughout the world as people try to emulate this simple and touching state of mind with their loved ones. The best way to understand hygge is to look at situations that are hyggeligt, or hyggle-ly (to combine Danish and English). Watching a film with your partner or a child while under a blanket is hyggeligt, having close chums over and eating a simple homemade meal is too. You can’t be hyggeligt on your own – probably.
Do you want to inject some hygge into your home? Here’s how.
Light a candle, then another one…
Danes love candles. They light them in their windows, in their shops, in their cafes, and even in their boardrooms! The candle is the biggest part of hygge – you can aim for it without candles, but you won’t go full-hygge. During the winter, Copenhagen seems to be lit entirely by candlelight. Take a stroll down a dark Danish street and you’ll see a candle in every window, and candles are popular gifts if you’re invited to dinner at a Danish home.
Throws, blankets and cushions
Hygge is about getting warm and comfortable, which you can’t do if you’re cold and on a hard chair. It’s all about the nest-building, with comforting blankets and soft cushions to rest on.
You can’t have hygge by yourself, so you need your significant other, your friends, your gran or your children with you. You must be eating or drinking something, and you are all watching a film or talking about comforting subjects – leave religion and politics alone.
Hyggeligt food and drink is simple – a home-made cake, a bowl of pasta or meatballs, a cup of hot chocolate or a glass or red wine. It’s important to have a central bowl – of sweets, crisps, peanuts – for everyone to share, as this is the point of hygge.