Hygge is a (fairly unpronounceable) Danish concept which means a kind of cosiness and companionship – time spent relaxing and enjoying the company of friends and family. It’s a concept that’s important to Danish culture – presumably they have less of an issue pronouncing it – but in English we don’t have a word for it.
I think we should.
The word ‘Hygge’ didn’t originate in the Danish language. It comes from a Norwegian word which meant something like “well-being” and it first appeared in Danish writing around the end of the 18th Century. It doesn’t mean just cosiness, it is board games on a wet Sunday night in front of the fire, it’s long walks in wintery woods with your family (once your children have passed the age where they will moan about just going for a walk. When is that? 18?! ) It’s long Sunday lunches with friends, it’s lazy evenings in pub gardens with a cold drink.
It’s watching a film together, it’s hanging out with friends and having a towering hot chocolate in a cosy coffee shops while the rain lashes the pavement outside. For my 8 year old, it’s putting on her bunny-onesie (bunsie, obvs,) when she gets in from school and curling up with a book. It’s walking on the beach in the winter, in 90 million layers, and having fish and chips. It most certainly includes roast dinners, drinks in pubs, slippers and friends who make you laugh til you snort. It’s stuff that’s good for the soul.
It’s lots of the things that I love doing, essentially. And therefore, I’d like it to have a word.
And this time of year; the arse-end of January, when it’s cold and bleak and there’s not much light, is a great time to embrace the concept.
Instead of being miserable this Winter (I do definitely get the post-Christmas/January blues) I am going to concentrate on upping my hygge levels, via the medium of friends, family, hot chocolate and board games. Have good hygge, people!