Hygge is a little Danish word I know because my Mother was born and raised in Denmark, and my Dad lived there for two and a half years. I don’t remember my Mom giving me the definition of the word, I just knew it meant what you feel when you see a darling baby or child, or a pretty little spot in the forest, or sitting around a fire, or what you feel at a warm family gathering. I learned what it meant by living in it. When visiting family in Denmark I recognized it when I went to their homes and after the evening meal, we sat at the table talking and enjoying the warm glow of being together.
Hygge is especially important at Christmas, as friends and families gather to celebrate Jultid (Christmas time), and enjoy the customs of the season. Things like dancing around the Christmas tree, pork roast with red cabbage, small browned potatoes, and rice pudding bring to mind the warm essence of hygge. Valentines Day isn’t celebrated with the fervor and enthusiasm of the Americans, but considering the way hearts are used in Danish decor, it really should be their national holiday!
Collins English Dictionary defines the word hygge as “a concept, originating in Denmark, of creating cozy and convivial atmospheres that promote wellbeing”. This dictionary also named hygge second only to Brexit as word of the year in the UK in 2016, and currently, there’s a hygge craze in Great Britain, with hygge displays in stores and shops, and entire books that cover the subject. To name a few: Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness, The Little Book of Hygge: The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge, How to Hygge: the Secrets of Nordic Living, The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well, Keep Calm and Hygge: A Guide to the Danish Art of Simple and Cozy Living. I expect that hygge will be invading America very soon, as well!
Now that we all know what it means, I wish you all a hygge day. Hygge to all on this Valentines Day — a celebration of hearts — and the heart !
© Copyright Tamara M. Lawrence 2017