Today is International Hygge Day, and if someone should celebrate it, well that should be me!
I know, I’ve already writen about hygge. But a lot of people in the Cove are not aware of that, and… and… and… I just shouldn’t have to explain myself. This will be about hygge, that’s it, that’s all! 😉
Hygge is probably the most Danish thing there is. People around the world do hyggelig stuff without even knowing it, but for Danes, it is just a way of living. And if my February trip had one highlight, it was to see the art of hygge at its best!
I thought we should begin with the pronouciation of “hygge”. Because Danish can be tricky, and most of the places I read indications on how to say it advised to pronounce “hoo-gah”. Wrong! So here’s a way too intricate short video to teach you how to throw in a little “hygge” mention in your next dinner with friends…
Hygge, to explain it simply, is a cousin of English’s “cozy”. It is every and anything you can do to make your life more cozy, enjoyable and comfortable.
It is an ambiance you create to feel good, and to encourage quality time spent with family and friends. Hygge can be experienced with all five senses… You can smell hygge (the smell of a fresh pot of coffee, or bread coming out of the oven), taste hygge ( any comfort food, especially if it has been cooked with someone special ), see hygge ( lighting up a few candles, or using lamps that give a warm feeling to the room… the flames from a fireplace or the addition of wooden decorations are very hyggelig too), hear hygge (hygge is more about quiet rooms, and ambiance sounds like the rain hitting your windows, the cracking of burning wood and the wind blowing, while you’re comfortably enjoying yourself inside) and feel hygge (the feeling of the rough surface of an old wooden table, fur blanket or soft fluffy duvets)…
Back in May, during my first trip to Denmark, I had experienced hygge, but the weather was so nice, that there was really no need to “work” on making things hygge. My most hyggelig moments happened outdoors, the pizza I shared with Pippa by the water was a good example. Pizza doesn’t have anything particularly hyggelig, but eaten while chatting and watching the sunset, with the background sound of the waves, that was pretty dang hyggelig.
My second trip was very different. I discovered the true art of hygge. Because of the cold weather, J and I had to spend much more time inside. In three of the four places where we stayed, we had no access to television (not a typical Danish thing, just happened to be that way) and as soon as we would get “home”, we’d run for our duvets, light candles, wrap ourselves on the couch and speak about our day snacking or just letting ourselves snooze a little.
The spot in the right-bottom corner of the second picture was my spot… Most hyggelig, let me tell you that!! That’s where I sat, legs stretched, in my duvet and with all my cushions, when I wrote Waking up in Odense…
Another very hygge thing we noticed many, many times, was people in Cafés. Here, people usually take their coffee to go. And when someone actually stops and sits down to sip on the dark brew he/she usually takes his/her intelligent phone, tablet or laptop out to catch up on work or check social medias… In Denmark, no matter the time of day, Cafés are filled with groups of people actually enjoying their time. More than once, we stopped to check through the stores’ front windows.
Here are a few pictures of one particularly hygge Café we stopped by. If you travel to Copenhagen, Mormor Café is a must. Just a few steps away from Nyhavn, and near the Marble Church and Amaliensborg Castle, if you don’t feel comfy sitting in and enjoying your coffee and pastry, there’s nothing I can do for you. You are dead inside!
I could go on… And I probably will soon, but I think I’ll leave it to this for now. All I have to say is that although it might sound cheesy, it is true; In Vikingland, hygge is in the air, and I hope Danes will keep it alive.
Oh, and if you want to study hygge from your corner of the world (because, yeah… anyone can benefit from a little more hygge in their life) I highly recommend this really cool book:
The little booke of hygge (in English)…
But remember… it’s not “hoo-gah”!