The previous Swedish mulled wine post, neatly dovetails into this topic of "hygge". What is "hygge" ? It's a Danish word, pronounced (more or less), as "hoogah". In our house, we say "hig" and it's a concept we've embraced for a few years now. So what is this ?
It's an abstract concept, embracing sensation and feeling around cosiness, warmth, community and a sense of deep appreciation of everyday simple pleasures. And it seems to be of particular relevance in winter. In the last couple of years, it seems we can't get enough of these Nordic secrets to good living. Books and articles on this topic, have popped up everywhere like mushrooms. Instagram has provided a perfect platform for hands around rustic mugs of cocoa, fuzzy knits, moody Icelandic landscapes, steaming cups of tea, cosy slippers, log cabins in the wilderness and so on. Hygge is all of these, and more. You can create your own hygge. It may be singular, or celebrated with a group of friends - afternoon tea, a bike ride or a dinner.
Interestingly, the Danes are often ranked amongst the happiest people in the world. And this is despite some of the highest taxes in the world and some of the worst weather. Denmark has about 150 days of rain per year. And it seems that these vikings are masters of enjoying simplicity whether it be in areas of design, or a simple candlelit meal.
Some of our favourite "hygge" things include - mulled wine and a movie (of course with the cosy slippers), a walk on the beach in the freezing wind followed by a steaming hot chocolate at home, a knitted project, fresh green foliage displayed in jars and an afternoon spent baking. Working outdoors over the last few years, has shown me that Melbourne is a pretty cold place for most of the year. It is the perfect place to get into some "hygge" !
The Danes have some of the highest global levels of consumption when it comes to pastries, coffee, alcohol, salt and pork. And they're really happy folk who don't seem inclined towards deprivation. I think they're onto something.
Time to think about putting some more Nordic joy into everyday living. I'm off for a walk in the freezing cold while contemplating new ways to inject more into everyday life.