Culture. Eat it
27 March 2017
The book on the nightstand: The little book of Hygge
Hygge? Since I figured out what is this, I can say that “There’s a life that I am a Danish girl.”
I felt that there was a word which alone could encompass many rituals of happiness.
Hygge, is just a word then? No, not even the Danes know how to explain exactly what it is but for us today is the title of the book on the bedside table of the eat culture:
The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.
We can start by saying who is Meik Wiking.
Mr. Wiking is the director of Happiness Research Institute of Copenhagen, an institution that is based in Denmark and studies what makes us happy. A sucure job for employees, right? Who really knows what makes people happy? The Danes have tried to figure it out.
The word hygge appeared for the first time at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, a term borrowed from the Norwegian world which means well-being, comfort. It is often used by the Danes also in the form of an adjective, “hyggelig”, or verb, “hyggeligt”. In short, it’s all about hygge: everything can be filtered by the word with which you measure events, places, situations, relationships. The hygge mania has broken out: many speak with fascination, others with suspicion,
but what is really hygge?
Denmark was crowned among the happiest nations in the world, causing no little curiosity around hygge, yet this book is not a manual that teaches you how to be happy. God forbid, I might add. It is about to describe in words, many and interspersed with numerous images, an atmosphere that reigns when we do what makes us feel good. Many of the experiences offered in the book are clearly linked to the Danish world, but many others can be exported anywhere.
What is hyggelig?
The candles, lamps, generally soft lighting. A cake, pastries and cakes, preferably in the workplace. Hot drinks, first in line coffee. The books (thank you Jesus!). The clothing, possibly black, comfortable, like a big scarf, a warm and cozy sweater. Home, perfect with a fireplace and a “hyggekrog”, a piece of paradise all your own. The open spaces to live with friends. The Christmas but also throughout the rest of theyear with film, ski trips, summer pic nic. The anticipation of a friend, a date, a recurrence. A place, like Copenhagen – why not – Rome, London, Paris or Spilimbergo!? The family, the traditions.
For “those of hygge” there is a real manifest summarized in ten points:
When we feel loved, protected, when we share experiences (and some candy), when we are grateful, in harmony, when we create links and we take care of them are living in the comfort zone of hygge.
The hygge would exist even if we had not a word to describe it? For me the answer is yes! On Sunday together with some friends we lived a day absolutely hyggelig without knowing it: round a long crowded table, even with little babies, we had lunch together, each of us brought something to share and eventually all of us have engaged in arranging what was left.
There were laughs, jokes. There was life, one that runs slow and passionate, there were young women and men who they just want to be together. “The best in life is free.“, isn’t it?
A wise Winnie The Pooh said that you can’t write an emotion, you just feel it, but it is so nice to have a word that talks about happiness! Thanks Denmark!
Geography aside, each of us can live his hygge, choosing their own path to happiness. We are not Danish – it’s true – but it’s worth seeing how much effort they employ explaining what can be called happiness and how much joy there is in knowing how to share it, thanks to this book.
some hyggelig evening
snuggled in your hyggekrog
Ph. Sara Cartelli
© The Eat Culture
She is an art historian, optimistic and empathic by nature. She imagines a world where sow kindness enjoying the little things. She's in love with stories since she was a child, for the Eat Culture she eats books and arts. Per aspera ad astra says the only tattoo on her skin. It reminds her that the road that leads to her dreams is not always easy but that she never gives up.