Unless you are currently living under a stone or in a hobbit hole then you will have seen the word Hygge floating about. Whether it’s on your Instagram feed accompanying photos of fleecy throws or candles or on the covers of books on the shelves of WHSmith..telling you how to get more Hygge into your life. It is pretty much everywhere right now. In fact it has been called THE trend of Autumn 2016. I read an article which referred to it as us Brits trying to jump on the “Scand-Wagon”.
So what is Hygge??
Well for one small word it can mean lots of things. Having a cosy night in with your family? That is Hygge. Having a night out with friends – also Hygge. Lighting a candle and relaxing in the warmth of your home – you guessed it, Hygge again. According to Visit Denmark it roughly translates to coziness and it does remind me of the Welsh word cwtch in some ways. Cwtch also has no literal translation but refers to a cuddle with a loved one or a small, cosy place, we also would use it to say cwtched up, for example under a blanket.
Danes who were asked in the street to describe it said the following:
“It’s a comfortable feeling”
“For me it’s cakes..especially when it gets darker” – I do like this one.
“Watching TV shows in bed under a blanket”
Although a lot also say it is very hard to explain in its entirety.
Have a quick search for #hygge on Instagram, with over 1.3million posts, you should get a feel for it.
Hygge didn’t originate in the Danish language but in Norwegian, where it meant something like “well-being.”
Now don’t get me started on the pronunciation, there are many ( and I mean many ) variations if you do a quick google search. From what I have found..with a lot of research which I totally enjoyed whilst drinking hot chocolate with a candle lit and a blanket thrown over me ( of course ) is that it should sound a bit like this:
To me ..if I was typing it and describing it to someone I would type it as Hueguh ( hue as in colour ) with an emphasis on the first H. But I could be wrong.
There is a lot to love about Hygge.
Candlelight. Cuddles with the ones you love. Time with family and friends. Fleecy blankets. Meals enjoyed with others.
In summary, it sounds a bit awesome. But don’t most of us already enjoy most of those things? We just don’t typically label them. Why now? Why do we all suddenly want to be a bit more Hygge?
My guess is this, we live such busy and often independent lives now. Naturally as humans we crave the comfort and pleasure of the company of others, which in essence is what Hygge seems to be about. For those of you living in the UK you will be aware of how often we can be seen as grumpy, ignorant at times and depression rates are continuing to rise. We are also definitely spending less time with others, at least in the physical sense. Great chunks of our lives are now spent at home alone and online ( says the blogger). Of course we now want to mimic what is considered the happiest country on earth. I mean they even have a Happiness Research Institute.
Meik Wiking who along with being the chief executive of Copenhagen’s Happiness Research Institute also wrote The Little Book Of Hygge believes that Hygge could be the “missing ingredient” that leads to Denmark regularly topping world happiness rankings.
“We did studies on why Denmark does well, and talked about Danes’ social security, equality, wealth and tolerance,” he said. “But the trouble with that explanation is that it doesn’t set Denmark apart from the other Nordic countries. Maybe – maybe – hygge is part of that missing piece.” – quote taken from The Guardian.
But the grass is always greener right? Maybe they are happier, maybe they aren’t. Every English person isn’t grumpy, every Dane doesn’t have a permanent smile and believe me not all of the Welsh can sing.
It has taken me some time in my life to get to this way of thinking but these two quotes sum it up:
“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
“…in the end you are the only one who can make yourself happy. More important, …it is never too late to find out how to do it.” – Ruth Reichl
However.. if like me you really love candles and if hot, indulgent drinks and good company make you happy then this trend can only be a good thing. Especially now the nights are drawing in and it is getting colder. I am using this as an excuse to head straight to my local homeware stores and buy all of the candles and blankets.
Maybe it’s the blankets and the feeling of warmth which emanates from a lot of the articles I read about Hygge that make me feel Autumn in the very best time for it. Autumn or Fall has always been my favourite season. The golden colours, the fact that you can bundle up in snug clothes without actually being freezing cold and then there are the stews, hot desserts and thick, warm drinks.
“I’m so glad we live in a world where there are Octobers” – Anne of Green Gables.
Some Hygge inspired photos from fellow bloggers:
A mermaid tail blanket..looks lovely and cosy from Foodie Quine.
What looks like the perfect candlelit bath also from Foodie Quine.
Homemade quilt from Fuss Free Flavours.
This is a corner of my lounge, my snuggly sofa along with comfy cushions and this amazing blanket which I found at Homesense last Autumn.
And finally homemade candles from Thinly Spread:
This may strike you as a break from my normal posts so let me correct that and share some recipes that would be perfect for adding Hygge to your life:
Oatmeal or porridge for the ultimate in a warm and comforting breakfast. Try this from The Crafty Larder:
Hot chocolate is key to any cosy evening right? Try out one of these recipes:
Golden Milk Hot Chocolate from Celery and Cupcakes
Or perhaps a traditional Danish pudding from Fab Food 4 All? It is similar to the traditional rice pudding we know and love but the addition of almonds, sherry and the delectable cherry sauce sound delicious.
Risalamande – Danish Rice Pudding With Cherry Sauce
An Autumnal comfort food dish, Tortellini In Broth from Fuss Free Flavours:
These Caramel Apple Muffins from Kerry Cooks could not be any more Autumnal, they look awesome:
Is there a more warming and seasonal dessert than crumble?? I love it at this time of year..or any time really. This Blackberry and Apple version from Tin and Thyme looks especially tasty.
And finally this awesome Pumpkin Spice Syrup from Emily’s Recipes and Reviews:
So what do you think? Is Hygge just the new fad? Are you going to embrace it or do you already??
Kevin Chambers-Paston says
You are my HERO. Hygge and Cwtch are my two absolute favourite non-english words so I’m sure you can imagine how much I LOVED this post. Unfortunately, my new house forbids lighting of candles. Doesn’t sound like much but it really has affected the mood and ambiance when I try to create hygge at home. Time to investigate flameless candles, I guess…
Haha, well I do like to be a hero. Cwtch is one of my very favourite words too. Oh I actually don’t think I could live somewhere which forbade candles!! I do however have a recommendation for a wax burner which is electrical – it’s called Scentsy and is an American company but lot’s of UK traders including one I can send you if you like. They make really stylish burners and you can buy wax melts or break off bits of candles to place in the bowl on top. Creates lovely ambience, smells ridiculously good ( I have some of the Autumnal scents ) doesn’t get too hot either so if you forget about it then it’s not a big deal. x
A great read Rebecca, I’m not sure why “hygge” has become a thing outside of Denmark but maybe it’s a good way to sell some more candles over here:-) Thanks for linking to my Danish Rice Pudding.
None of the shops in my area have ever had a problem selling candles to me.. I am an addict. But yes..possibly a marketing campaign by one of the larger home stores. It is a nice one though. I guess it brings back good memories for you also?
I only have to set foot in my mums house for any celebration and the candles, cakes and tea/coffee pot are there along with the Danish china. I remember as a kid there was always a candle and a flower in a vase at the breakfast table on my birthday. Christmas was the real full on “hygge” fest with a month of making candle decorations with holly, fir sprigs fir cones, baubles and the odd orange, then the paper Christmas decoration making (weaving paper hearts with handles to hang from the tree and filling with sweets), making 3D paper stars from a kit of paper strips and sewing red felt stocking decorations. The Christmas tree always had real candles on it as a kid (later on went to electric white candles) and we would dance around the tree singing traditional Danish Christmas songs (mum often playing on the piano) and open our presents on Christmas Eve. I had quite a few Christmases in Denmark too and remember a really snowy one:-) Yep lots of memories:-)
That sounds lovely Camilla. I can just imagine that Christmas scene..sounds so cosy! x
Well I sort of new about hygge, but hadn’t heard of cwtch before. What a perfectly splendid word and concept. I was in a Swedish cafe a couple of months ago, so happily started rambling on about huge as I’d heard a radio programme all about it. They were very sniffy with me, saying they didn’t know much about it as it was a Danish thing. I sense a bit of rivalry, hahahaha!
Sarah @ Champagne Tastes says
Maybe I’ve been living under a rock or as a hermit (or just because I’m in the US?), but I haven’t heard of this at all!!! I do like being cozy though- -and the chilly rainy weekend we had made me just want to curl up with hot cocoa and a blanket!
April J Harris says
Hygge is definitely beginning to take hold in the UK too. We need it to as well as we are constantly complaining about our long, cold, wet winters! I love the idea of embracing the season – I, too, am very glad I live in a world where there are Octobers!
Edyta/Innocent Delight says
I’ve never heard about “Hygge”. Thanks for sharing this information 🙂
I haven’t heard this Hygge earlier, thanks for introducing to me.
Chris @thinlyspread says
We’re a cwtch family too but very happy to adopt a bit of Hygge into the mix! Candles and woodburners, food and family – what’s not to love?! Thanks for featuring our seashell candles 🙂