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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

What Is HYGGE?

It’ll never cease to amaze me what so-called “experts” are digging up to make it a trend. The most recent “discovery” I have come across is the meaning of the word HYGGE.  Hygge is Scandinavian (Danish+ Norwegian) and it means to be cozy. After living 25 years in Norway “Hygge” is something that we always have practiced at home. It is simply living in a comfortable home with f.ex. something good to eat, or watching a TV movie or just sitting in front of the fireplace with a glass to drink. Here is the article I found about it. Obviously, it’s going to be the next big thing with a lot of commerce to it.

In troubled times, Danish art of 'coziness' sparks international trend

The author of "The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well" says hygge can be practiced with other people or alone. "It's about the quality of presence. 

Lifestyle enthusiasts from around the world have latched on to a centuries-old Danish cultural practice, "hygge", or what some call the art of "coziness."

This year, nine books will be published featuring the concept of hygge in their title, while social media platforms are teeming with pictures of falling leaves and woolly socks. There are more than a million hygge-related posts on Instagram.

"Hygge is about creating a circle of warmth. It's an uncomplicated moment of relatedness, contentment and ease," says Louisa Thomsen Brits, author of The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well.

For Thomsen Brits, hygge offers a "feeling of belonging to the moment and each other — a brief restorative pause."

She says the best way to practice hygge, is to establish a point of focus.

"Make tea, or share a meal, or make conversation. Open a book or play cards, or put on a movie."

Lunch at Fifteen

Louisa Thomsen Brits says "sharing food is the epitome of hygge." (Julie Van Rosendaal)

The idea of hygge was introduced after Denmark lost its empire in 18th and 19th century. The  Danes were encouraged to look inward, and identify with smallness.

"Hygge is facilitated by small means," says Thomsen Brits. "Paying attention to each other and the possibilities of the moment."

Louisa Thomsen Brits maintains hygge has been distorted by a capitalist system directly at odds with the concept. "I think it's been hijacked."

Michael Booth, author of The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia, agrees. "It is being used right now to sell newspapers, magazine, books, candles, socks and all these other things that we already have."

Booth says hygge has its value, but he's frustrated with all the hype. "It's been elevated into something aspirational and it's not that. It's about having a cozy time."

He also says there are downfalls that aren't being considered, like an aversion to riskier topics of conversation, including politics.

"This middle ground where everything is non-confrontation, it's just boring."

Booth says hygge's emphasis on community can also used to exclusionary ends.

'It has been slightly appropriated by the right to reinforce a sense of "Danish-ness",  and by that they mean people who are ethnically Danish.'- Michael Booth

Hygge likewise has a defeatist edge.

"It's no coincidence why the world has gone crazy, what a troubling year and unpredictable future we're staring down the barrel at in this moment. What's more natural than to shut the curtains and stick your head in the sand, and that's what hygge invited you to do."

While I like Hygge I do agree with Michael Booth who calls this new trend a hype. I mean if you are not able to enjoy yourself with a book in front of the fireplace, you won’t neither be able to force yourself to “practice” hygge. It’s not like you learning a new yoga exercise. You either like to be cozy or you don’t. You can’t learn hygge from reading a book. In order to enjoy hygge you would also need to have a “hyggelig” cozy place to live. If your furniture is willy-nilly strewn about your place you will probably lack the feeling of coziness and I seriously doubt you ever have missed to be cozy. Fortunately, most people have a natural desire for warmth and coziness and will try to live it,……with or without being “trendy”.

1 comment:

  1. So most of living in RVs have been practicing hyyge even though we didn't realize it! :-)


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