Friday, October 05, 2007

what is 'hygge'?

One of the terms more difficult to translate or explain to someone who hasn't lived in Denmark is 'hygge'. Danes use it a lot, saying it was 'hyggeligt', a person can be 'hyggelig' or you can also use it as verb and 'hygger' yourself.
Sounds like chinese!? Here's a really good definition I found.

Definition of "hygge",

A love of or need for hygge is an important part of the Danish psyche. Hygge is usually inadequately translated as cosiness. This is too simplistic: cosiness relates to physical surroundings – a jersey can be cosy, or a warm bed - whereas hygge has more to do with people’s behaviour towards each other. It is the art of creating intimacy: a sense of comradeship, conviviality, and contentment rolled into one.
Friends meeting in the street might say that it has been hyggeligt to see each other, and someone who is fun to be with can be called a hyggelig fyr, when he would hardly be described as a cosy fellow. The truly emotive depth of the word hyggelig is best captured by considering its opposite, uhyggeligt, which means anything from cheerless through sinister to downright shocking and grisly.
To have a hyggelig time is social nirvana in Denmark. Candlelight is used to encourage a hyggelig atmosphere. In fact, the Danes are mad about candles and use them everywhere, both in public, and at home. The dim lighting helps to soften the clean, uncluttered surfaces and uncompromising white walls that are typical features of Danish living rooms.
Achieving hygge generally involves being with friends and family, and eating and drinking.


Dan said...

Very hyggelig post ;-)

Ditte Wie Jakobsen said...

That is the perfect translation. I use it ofen to show my friends :D Im exstange student this year in US.. Thank you.