Hygge can be used as a noun, a verb and an adjective.
It can also be applied to our own life, and how particular actions make us feel – hygge (heu-gah). In the English language, we have an assortment of words for hygge-ness e.g. cozy, well-being, comfy, snug, safe or simply – happiness.
Hygge will probably make it into the dictionary soon and be a welcome addition, because it sums up in one word, what the English language uses several for – each with a slightly different meaning.
Every person has a different action or circumstance which triggers hygge. For me, it’s drinking a strong, hot espresso, or eating sourdough bread.
Well-made vegan food is, for me, also hygge. Fresh vegetables, delicately seasoned pulses, some nice noodles – each one prepared with respect for the ingredients, is hygge for the person making it and (hopefully) the person eating it.
If the situation is made into a money-making exercise for one person and a feeling of having got exactly what they wanted for another, it’s hygge.
Christmas, known for “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”, is perfect for some, but not all. For the person doing all the cooking (my husband), it’s stressful. For myself and the children, it’s okay. But it’s not hygge.
Not being Scandinavian, one can only guess that hygge is the feeling of curling up in a chair with a good book, coming inside from the cold and being handed a warm mince pie or watching a good scandi-noir on a Saturday night with a glass of beer and some crisps.
For others, it can be going down the pub, playing music or simply being left to your own devices.
Every person’s Hygge is different. What’s yours?