21 December 2017

Hygge and Hugs

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a Danish word used to mean something is cozy, comfortable, and charming. This coziness philosophy became the topic of a bunch of lifestyle books and blogs the past few years.

Hygge values the idea of cherishing yourself, candlelight, bakeries, a warming fireplace, dinner with friends, values experiences over possessions, and treasuring a sense of community.

The word hygge comes from a Norwegian word meaning "wellbeing, it is also said that it might originate from the word hug. Hug comes from the 1560s word hugge, which means "to embrace". The word hugge is of unknown origin but is highly associated with an Old Norse term, hygga, which means "to comfort", which in turn comes from the word hugr, meaning "mood." Go back further in etymology and we arrive at the Germanic word hugyan, which relates to the Old English hycgan, meaning "to think, consider."  I think that's a lot of hugging.

Hygge is not a new term. It first appeared in Danish writing in the 19th Century. While hygge has exactly the same meaning in Norwegian as in Danish and is a widely used word in Norway "hygge" as a cultural philosophy is mostly a recent Danish phenomenon. In Norway "hygge" is just a word, similar in status to "cozy" in English-speaking countries.

But the hygge lifestyle has moved beyond Denmark and it is taking hold in the United States.

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