You might have seen it as a hashtag on Instagram, where #hygge currently accompanies almost 1.7 million posts. Or on Pinterest, where the hygge aesthetic has been steadily taking over more and more home and decor boards. It’s all over the shelves of bookstores too, with an avalanche of books on the topic steadily being published since mid-2016. But what is hygge, how do you pronounce it, and how do you practise it?
Oxford Dictionaries defines hygge, pronounced “hoogah”, as: “A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).” With Denmark earning the top spot on the United Nation’s World Happiness Report in 2013, 2014 and 2016, and third in the 2015 report, the rest of the world can definitely look to the Danes for tips on how to be happy and content—especially after all we have been through in 2016.
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A part of Danish everyday life, hygge can be used as a noun, a verb and an adjective. That means almost anything and everything can be hygge, from the gentle warmth of candlelight to a comforting bowl of soup. It’s about mindfulness, togetherness… in essence, hygge is about slowing down, celebrating the simple luxuries in life, alongside your loved ones; and the warm and fuzzy feelings those moments entail. Scroll down for some components to tick off your hygge checklist:
1. Nothing spells cosy like being snuggled up under a blanket with a cuppa hot chocolate topped with marshmallows
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2. Me-time is key to hygge, best exemplified by reading a book and sipping on a hot beverage
3. Hygge is about nourishment for the body and soul; being considered and kind to your body
4. A warm, inviting atmosphere is crucial to hygge; achieve yours at home (or in the workplace) with string lights and candlelight
5. Finding the time to unwind is essential to the philosophy of hygge. Consciously switching off, say with a running bath, soothes the mind and soul
If you’re baulking at the idea of getting under a knit blanket next to the fire in Singapore, fret not: Hygge might be a Scandinavian concept, but it can be translated in the tropics too. This picture shows us how it’s done: Neon lights, cosy throw, a warm and cosy vibe… check, check and check.
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By Annabelle Fernandez