Hygge (hyoo-ge): n. – the Danish term for “cozy”, a state, mood, and ambience of contentedness and relaxation; v. – to make something cozy or give it the feeing of contentedness and relaxation.
One of the first things that I learned about Denmark was its association with hygge. Throughout my semester I have realized what a big part of Danish culture this little word really is.
The word hygge is usually used as a noun or verb, but variations of “hygge” are found for everything. “Hygge mig” (hyooge-my) is to “cozy myself”. Of course, after that you could attach any subject and cozy it! “Hyggeligt” (hyooge-lee) is an adjective, so this is used to describe something cozy. Other than that, “hygge” can be used just about any way. Hyggelicious! Hyggepocalypse! Hyggekat! (cozy the cat!) …and on, and on, and on! Go hygge crazy!
It doesn’t take much to create hygge. I’m sure you have experienced hygge without even knowing it! Many Danish households have candles, flowers and music that set a hyggeligt mood. Unless it is solo-hygge you are going for, hygge usually includes friends and family, creating an atmosphere with lots of laughter and talking. After winter is over, this hyggeligt atmosphere can even be outside in a lovely park or anywhere sun is shining J
This tradition of coziness and happiness with friends and family means that dinners or any social event will often last much longer than expected. After the meal is over, people will sit around the table for hours talking and laughing as the candles burn lower and lower.
The hygge atmosphere is easy to re-create and fulfilling to experience, and is definitely a tradition I will bring back with me to the states. Check out these photos of hyggeligt moments from my semester!