What is Hygge and why is it becoming a global sensation?
The Danes have figured out the secret to happiness
Picture this: It’s pouring buckets outside and you’re wrapped in a blanket, cradling a good book and a steaming cup of coffee. Your dog is sleeping near your feet and you know that you don’t have to go to work in the morning.
If this made you sigh with happiness, then you need to get behind the Danish lifestyle concept that the world can’t stop talking about: Hygge.
If you didn’t, then tell us more about how you came back to life, Hitler.
Oxford dictionary added ‘Hygge’ to their ‘2016 Words of the Year’, because the concept went viral after being discovered as the reason behind Denmark’s reputation as the happiest country in the world.
Hygge (pronounced as ‘HUE-guh) literally means ‘feeling cozy’. It’s a lifestyle concept practiced by people in Denmark, where they take time off every day to indulge in the good things and be present in each moment. An ideal hyggelig (that’s ‘hygge like’) state would be one in which you’re with a person, or a pet, whose company you enjoy.
Hygge is also defined as the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming in your immediate environment.
Because of Denmark’s harsh weather conditions, hygge has come to be associated with warm blankets, thick sweaters and fireplaces. Danes also associate candles with the concept, as it creates a warm and mellow ambience.
The sudden worldwide popularity of the concept — it’s existed in Denmark for such a long time that Danish doctors prescribe hygge along with medicine — is probably due to the tumultuous year that 2016 was. But if it took a year full of death, destruction, Donald Trump and demonetization to get us to appreciate the importance of a good coffee and warm blanket, then so be it.
Hygge expert, and the author of The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking explains that it works best when you don’t have to contend with a large empty space around you, so ideally, you should be indoors. Hygge might not give you eternal happiness, but it does make for some sweet Instagram posts. So, you know, win-win.
Now before you cancel your Friday night plans in favour of staying at home with your cat, go through our little guide of things that can be hyggelig. Or not.
Binge-watching old reruns of F.R.I.E.N.D.S while eating pizza?
Not hyggelig. You are not technically present in the moment. But if you’re watching it with someone, it can be counted as hyggelig.
Are dogs more hyggelig than cats?
Hygge is not a competition. The kind of pet is not the question, it’s how they make you feel. So pets are hyggelig. Period.
Catching up with old friends?
Unless they avoid talking about the time all of you went camping and you cried the whole night because you were scared of the dark, we’re definitely in the hygge territory.
Whatsapp family groups?
The idea of a family group chat scenario is essentially hyggelig, because it involves connecting with your loved ones. But based on the aggressive cross-questioning we received the last time we opened the group chat, we think this is a grey area.