As my time here starts to come to an end (in full denial about it too), I’m looking back and reflecting on the past four months in Denmark. And let me tell you something. Hygge is so real. There have been so many things I have learned about the Danish culture living with a host family, that I wouldn’t have learned about (or been experience to with such force) if I lived in another situation.
Hygge pronounced like “heu-gah” is around me every day. I was introduced to the word before I left, and had done my research about what the word meant since it was all the talk. But there is no direct translation of the word into ANY other language. What makes the Danes and the word hygge so special?
When you ask someone, they’ll say hygge means cozy and warm. According to Google translate, hygge means fun. However the Danish definition on one site is avslappet og god stemming, which translated to English means “relaxed and good mood”. On the Hygge website (yes there’s a website devoted to this word), hygge is explained as “the art of building sanctuary and community, to create well-being, connection, and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other. Celebrating everyday.” That begins to describe what hygge is, but as you can see, hygee is so many things.
Hygge means dim lights during dinner, it means big blankets while watching tv, it means coffee and cake randomly just because, it means tea every night, it means candles lit all the time, it means happiness, it means warmth, it means family and friends coming together, it means love, it means watching movies with friends, it means decorative lights hung up in streets, it means dinner with the whole family, it means class dinners in small cafes, it means singing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer in English while your host sister sings it in Danish. Hygge means spending times with those who matter.
Hygge is built into the Danish culture that it’s just part of nature. It’s normal for them and something that I have become so accustomed too. I’m going to miss “hygge” in my life and I’m going to try and incorporate it into my daily routine. But the thing is, nowhere else in the world is hygge so powerful. The Danes have mastered this term so perfectly, that some London schools are starting to teach the concept. Yep, hygge is THAT powerful.
The idea of hygge has easily become one of my favorite parts about Denmark, and something that I’m going to miss a lot.
Here are just a few times that the experiences was hyggelit.
Visiting Tivoli at Halloween time with my host family.
Going on rides at Tivoli with friends.
laughing at my host sister for sneaking the frosting to the birthday cake
Copenhagen Christmas Markets.
Halloween with friends.
Making dinner with Lydia.
Sushi with friends.
My entire MPP class, who has become my family at DIS. The hands on experiences we’ve gained, memories made from traveling, and pretending to be doctors are unforgettable experiences.