20 pictures that explain 'hygge,' the Danish obsession with coziness

Candles. Hugs. Warm blankets and a mug of hot chocolate while a thunderstorm rages outside. These are just some of the things that are hygge (pronounced “HOO-gah”), the Danish word for cosy.
The lifestyle buzzword has increased 285% in recent Pinterest searches, and is so big in Britain that the Collins Dictionary called it one of the top 10 words of 2016.

With a bunch of hygge-themed books about to hit the shelves and the hygge aesthetic dominating decor and home trends, you’re bound to find some hygge in your future. Keep reading to see what hygge looks like.

Hygge (pronounced 'HOO-gah') has no real English translation, but essentially describes the feeling you get when you're comfortable.

Examples of things that are hygge are candles, snuggling under a blanket, and drinking hot coffee from a mug on a cool morning.

When something is hygge, you say it's hyggelig ('HOO-gah-lee'): 'That was a hyggelig evening.'

Hygge is so omnipresent in Denmark that the Danes even use it in everyday language: 'Hyg dig!' or 'have hygge!' is a popular way to say goodbye.

Source: The Guardian

There are almost 1.7 million hashtags for hygge on Instagram. The photos range from knitting to comfy couches.

Searches for the trend also grew by 285% on Pinterest. The site is filled with tips on how to live the hygge lifestyle.

Source: Pinterest

The concept of hygge is very nostalgic: candlelight, anti-technology, and comforting traditions are all 'hyggelig.'

The Guardian's Charlotte Higgins describes it as 'a feeling of calm togetherness and the enjoyment of simple pleasures, perhaps illuminated by the gentle flicker of candlelight.'

Source: The Guardian

'Danes see hygge as a part of our culture,' Meik Wiking, the founder of the Copenhagen-based Happiness Institute, told The New York Times. 'The same way you see freedom as inherently American.'

But there is a dark side to the idea of hygge.

Conformity and comfort are the trademarks of hygge. If someone makes you uncomfortable or brings up a difficult conversation, they could be accused of 'spoiling the hygge.'

Source: The Guardian

People who speak out or are opinionated may also be ruining the hygge. This idea can lead to conformist attitudes.

Source: The Guardian

But hygge isn't going anywhere. More than 20 how-to hygge books were published in 2016.

'The Little Book of Hygge,' became a bestseller in Britain and is now available in the United States.

Source: Amazon

If you want to be hygge, the first accessory you'll need is a candle.

'Where Americans see a fire hazard, the Danes see an antidepressant,' New York Times reporter Penelope Green writes. 'The Danish word for spoilsport, Mr. Wiking notes, is lyseslukker, 'which literally means, one who puts out the candles.''

You should also get comfortable in your favourite spot, or your hyggekrog ('cosy nook').

No matter where you go or what you do, you can bring the hygge. It's a state of mind.

All it requires is for you to indulge and savour your comfort.

Cuddle with loved ones, eat good food, and enjoy being wrapped up in soft textiles.

Perhaps hygge is why Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world.

You can read more about hygge at The New York Times and on The Guardian.


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