I.AM.Sooooo behind the eight-ball on this one! Have you heard of the word “HYGGE” (pronounced Hoo-gah)? It was THE word of 2016…and I’m just getting around to it now..ugh! Similar to the post I did on coincidences the word “hygge” has entered my life frequently and randomly for the past seven months.
It all started last July when I did a non-simultaneous home exchange with a lovely family from Copenhagen. When I returned home my guests had left a lovely note and a candlestick, telling me that my home was so hygge. I looked up the word and found out that it means “cozy, contentment and well-being” and was so flattered that my home conveyed this feeling to their family. Of course when I went to Copenhagen for the World Rowing Masters Regatta in September the word hygge kept popping up here and there, but I wasn’t paying much attention….much to my dismay now.
It is not only a Danish word, but it’s practically a national ethos that the Danish have embedded in their culture. Think fireplaces, big woolly sweaters, blankets, candles and an overall feeling of a big hug. Knowing my guests felt that warmth just by inhabiting my home for a week got me verklempt! It’s totally how I feel about my home…as I assume you do yours…but to have someone else tell me that just warmed my heart.
I need to back track now. I have a thing for phrases and have had many Wall-Words up in my home over the years…you know those little phrases that you order online, they come in a roll and you just stick them to the wall. Well the previous ones I’d had in my home had all been painted over with my detour move to the beach. Now that I was back home, I was itching to put up some wall words…so, after my exchange and trip to Copenhagen, “hygge” seemed perfect. I didn’t want to put up just one word randomly, when I had an epiphany! In thinking back I realized that my friend & neighbor, Bernie, had come into my house years ago and said, ” your home is so gezellig!” (pronounced heh-SELL-ick) …..and my friend, Gina, from Ireland with whom I did my first home exchange, said to me “You need to put up ‘Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin'” (I’m not going to even mess with that pronunciaton…click here) Gezellig is Dutch (Bernie is from Amsterdam) and loosely translated as “cozy” or “heartwarming.” ‘Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin’ is Irish and translates to “there’s no hearth like your own hearth” or “there’s no place like home.”
So, those were my words. I ordered them, put them up on my wall leading to the kitchen right before Thanksgiving and that was that….FABULOUS!
….and then I read an article in the NY Times this past Sunday and thought, “Wow, I am so on trend!” and asked Taylor and Kate if they had heard of this word. Not only had they heard it, they both knew all about it, Kate sent me another earlier article in the NY Times …and my ensuing research showed that, yes, I was on trend, but way behind in the trending!
Here’s what I found out….
- According to the Oxford Dictionary it’s one of the top 10 words of 2016
- There are numerous books on the subject now…The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking ; The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort and Connection by Louisa Thomsen Brits and How to Hygge by Signe Johansen…to name a few.
- Some think that the rise in it’s use in the U.S….and Britain… is related to the need for some positivity in the wake of Trumpism and Brexit. The fact that people can equate it to their own life…it’s personal, it’s accessible and it’s so POSITIVE!
So why not take a lesson from the Danish and add a little hygge to your life this weekend. Throw a log on the fire, light some candles, invite some friends over (or not) and enjoy the beauty and warmth that emanates from your home and life!