‘Hygge’: Danish lifestyle craze brings contentment
Though the announcement that political terms 'Brexit' and 'Trumpism' had been named by Collins English Dictionary as the words of the year may have been entirely expected, it was more surprising to see the term 'hygge' crop up on the list.
For those not familiar, 'hygge' refers to the Danish lifestyle craze that's seen something of an international hysteria of late; a concept roughly described as a feeling of comfort and contentment, as well as indulging in all the good things and people in your life. It's one often connected to the idea that the Danes are the happiest people in the world, and that it's 'hygge' that provides the secret to their success.
MAKING THE ORDINARY SPECIAL
The craze has focused largely on the idea of making the ordinary special, or meaningful, through ritualising everyday activities such as making a cup of coffee or having dinner; that means putting technology to one side, and embracing simple practices such as lighting candles, purchasing flowers, or brewing real tea in china cups.
Of course, Denmark's use of 'hygge' is particularly useful in combating the country's harsh winters; with up to 17 hours of darkness a day potentially having deeply adverse effects on the mental health of its citizens. Susanne Nilsson, a Danish lecturer at London's Morley College, explained to the BBC: "We have long, cold winters in Denmark. That influences things. Hygge doesn't have to be a winter-only thing, but the weather isn't that good for much of the year."
COMFORT AND CONTENTMENT
"Hygge could be families and friends getting together for a meal, with the lighting dimmed, or it could be time spent on your own reading a good book," she adds. "It works best when there's not too large an empty space around the person or people."
Hygge's international export has seen an explosion of themed cookbooks and lifestyle guides, alongside Scandinavian-themed restaurants, cafes and bars in the UK which boast intimate settings, simple decor, and plenty of comfort food.
Source: The Independent