What is Hygge?

In American culture, the hygge lifestyle is interpreted as coziness.
In American culture, the hygge lifestyle is interpreted as coziness.

Hygge is a Scandinavian concept of living a simple life accompanied by family and friends without the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The concept presents a warm feeling similar to that of Christmas but all year round. It involves sharing time and space with family and friends while enjoying drinks, food, sports, and conversations without stress. A single person can also enjoy the concept by traveling, spending time indoors, reading, or engaging in an activity they enjoy such as cooking, painting, or doing nothing that involves straining physically. Although the concept is popular in the Scandinavian countries, it has been adopted in Denmark as a way of living and is thought to be among the reasons why Scandinavian countries always top the list of the happiest countries in the world. The concept is spreading to other regions like North America and the United Kingdom where it is interpreted as “coziness”. Hygge is a way of life, you cannot live in a hygge house, drive a hygge car, or eat hygge food.

Origin of Hygge

Hygge did not originate in Denmark, it originated in ancient Norway. The word “hygge” is Norwegian and means, "to give courage, joy, and comfort." The word appeared in Danish writings in the late 18th and early 19th century and has since then been embraced as a Danish culture. The word has a similar meaning in both countries. Both the ancient Danes and Norwegians engaged in the concept as early as the eighteenth century.

Benefits of Hygge

The concept of hygge has physical, emotional, and social benefits. It allows people to clear their minds and engage in activities that make them happy. The sense of peace and calm strengthen relationships between people and their environment. It has been observed that people who practice this concept, especially the Danes, experience lower stress, increased optimism, less anxiety and depression, and are mindful of others. The feelings of comfort, safety, and calmness help people sleep better, regulate weight, and reduce the need for drugs and alcohol.

Season of Hygge

Hygge happens all year round but it happens especially during the weekend and in the afternoons when people leave their jobs. During the summer, friends and family engage in social activities in designated parks or indoors during the winter. The practice peaks during the winter in the festive season when families and friends are available and the weather is not suitable for outdoor activities.


More in World Facts