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Hygge means fleeting moments, such as listening to the rain, a walk among falling leaves, a delicious meal with friends or reading a bedtime story to your child. We often do not pay attention to such moments, but they are the ones that make up the feeling of happiness and fulfillment, so it's worth celebrating them every day and enjoying them.

Hygge - the Danish art of happiness

It is probablyhyggethat the Danes have been at the forefront of the happiest nations in the world for several decades (in 2016 they took 1st place). This mysterious term is recalled by Marie Tourel Søderberg, author ofHygge. Danish art of happiness . By hygge, she means "moments of happiness, warmth and closeness that we can find in the most ordinary situations."

This definition fits well with the life philosophy of Scandinavians, which is to be satisfied with what you have and not to have excessive expectations towards life. In this way, the people of the North learned to enjoy seemingly ordinary activities - but what makes them stand out is the atmosphere of relaxation, inner harmony and closeness with the most important people for us.

The word hygge is pronounced "hygr" and the "y" sounds like a sound on the border between "y" and "u".

Hygge style - what is it?

Hygge does not have a single, set definition, because the true meaning of this word can only be discovered by experiencing it firsthand. Probably all of us have had many hygge moments in our lives, but we never thought of giving them a special name.

These were the moments when we felt fully in tune with ourselves and the world, when we were filled with inner peace and contentment resulting from being here and now.

Hygge may be a meeting with friends that is very prolonged, but nobody wants to finish it, so we take out a bottle of wine and talk until late at night while sipping the drink.

It can also be a daily ritual, for example a dinner with loved ones, during which everyone tells how their day was and what made them laugh lately. But hygge also happens in times of loneliness, for example when, after a hard day full of duties, we take a well-deserved rest - take a long bath or take a comfortable position in an armchair and reach for an engaging book. It fills upthen a feeling of harmony and fulfillment after a well-lived day.

The term hygge comes from the word "hyggja", which in Old Norse means "to think", "to feel satisfied" and was associated with safety, rest and gaining energy.

How was hygge created?

The word hygge has been used in Denmark for centuries. The inhabitants of this country treat hygge as their cultural heritage, which they pass down from generation to generation. They indicate several factors that influenced this phenomenon, incl. cold, rainy climate, which has always favored meetings by the fireplace with family and friends.

The unfavorable weather also made the Danes believe that the house is a safe haven and shelter - that's why they most often experience hygge in their own four walls and that's where they like to spend time with their loved ones the most.

Another aspect that played a large role in the emergence of the hygge tradition is the idea of ​​the welfare state, in the case of Denmark dating back to the 19th century. Being brought up in such a model of social relations made the Danes an open, trusting nation with a high sense of security.

In addition, due to the small size of the country, the people of Denmark have built up a strong sense of community, which is also reflected in their relationships with family and friends. Their national trait contributing to the occurrence of hygge is hospitality.

At the same time, it is slightly different from our Polish hospitality - while we believe that our visitors deserve special treatment, the Danes want their guests to feel as comfortable as possible.

They allow them, for example, to take something out of the cupboard, look into the fridge, lie down on the couch and watch TV. They rarely meet someone in a cafe or restaurant - preferring to invite their friends home, where they will give them a hand-made dish.

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How to bring hygge into your life?

  • Involve children in daily activities - cooking together, housework. Thanks to this, you will spend time together, which is so often missing from crowded parents.
  • When dining with loved ones, turn off the TV and hang up the phones - focus on enjoying being together.
  • Invite your friends to your house and cook them something good, and if you don't have culinary skills, just tell your friends to bring something with them.
  • Make your home more hyggelig, meaning warm and cozy. Light the fireplace, cover the sofa with soft pillows, place a bouquet of wild flowers on the table, and photos andfamily souvenirs. Avoid bright light - instead, place several points of light in each room, e.g. in the form of wall lamps and lamps standing in different places.

Kitchen - hygge source

Cooking is one of the activities that have the greatest potential for being hygge. The inhabitants of the Danish islands often cook with their relatives, and then eat the dishes prepared in this way at a shared table. They are usually simple dishes made of good-quality organic ingredients.

It is worth adding that the Danes are big gourmets, so they eat sweets not only for dessert, but also during the day. While this is not in line with the current trend for a he althy lifestyle, the little pleasure of eating a homemade cookie at work or at school is the essence of hygge. Such a break allows you to de-stress, break away from everyday duties and feel almost childish fun from eating something sweet.

Ostoja hygge, or house

Danes spend most of their free time at home, which is why they attach great importance to its decor. This does not mean, however, that they buy expensive, designer furniture and arrange their apartments according to the latest trends. On the contrary, as Christina B. Kjeldsen, author of Scandinavian-style books notes, "hygge depends on how much honesty there is in the things you surround yourself with."

The equipment of the house should therefore reflect the personality of its owner. For example, you can place items in visible places that we associate with a special moment from the past - e.g. travel souvenirs, family photos, old books. The hygge-style house is also eclectic, it combines various aesthetics - next to an antique wooden table there is room for modern chairs and an industrial lamp. Danes also love natural raw materials - wood, stone, leather, linen, wicker, metals. These materials combine simplicity with sophistication and are timeless.

How to learn hygge?

Hygge does not come on demand - he appears naturally in moments of relaxation, when we have free time from duties and spend it as we want, in full harmony with each other. It is difficult to predict when the hygge moment will come - sometimes the moment for which we are laboriously preparing and which in our opinion will certainly bring us a lot of joy, turns out to be artificial and tiring.

What you can do is try to create the conditions in your life for hygge to occur as often as possible. To this end, we need to change our outlook on the world a bit - first of all, we must see moments in the everyday prose of life that are full of beauty, warmth and love.Contrary to appearances, there are many of them, and the easiest way to find them in contacts with loved ones.

You can read more about what hygge is and how to bring it into your home and life in Marie Tourell SøderbergHygge. Danish art of happinessby Insignis. There you will also find recipes for hygge dishes and sweets as well as inspiring photos.

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