Hygge

The art of Danish hygge

Hard to explain and even harder to pronounce, the Danish word 'hygge' (pronounced 'hooga') translates roughly to 'cosiness'. It may be hard to say, but that hasn't stopped people finding out that hygge might be a recipe for a happier life. Oxford Dictionaries even shortlisted hygge as one of their Words of the Year 2016! But what is hygge really? Are candles hygge? Woolly socks? As our guide Anna discovers, there's much more to the unique Danish concept of hygge...

Video: On a quest for Danish hygge

The Danish meaning of hygge

Hygge is as Danish as pork roast and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul. In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. There's nothing more hygge than sitting round a table, discussing the big and small things in life. Perhaps hygge explains why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world? 

 

Christmas shopping

The high season of hygge

The high season of hygge is Christmas. Danes lead a secular lifestyle but when it comes to religious holidays, they pull out the stops. Danish winters are known to be long and dark, and so the Danes fight the darkness with their best weapon: hygge, and the millions of candles that go with it. If you have ever been to Tivoli Gardens or walked the streets of Copenhagen during the festive season, you have an idea of what Danes can do with lighting, mulled wine (known as gløgg for the locals), blankets and oversize scarves. If you haven’t maybe it’s time you try.

 

Picnic

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