The Danish word hygge was actually adapted from Norwegian. AFAIK it was used in the cold northern parts of Norway, where the Norwegians would rub each other warm during the long cold winters.

However, Danes don't need to rub the members of their family warm to have a hyggelig time. The concept is about as hard to describe to a foreigner as describing red to a blind man is. Hygge has a lot to do with space, company and intimacy. You can't hygge properly in a big open area or with people you don't know. You need to let people into your personal sphere in order to be let into theirs and achieve the mental stage of comfort that is hygge.

Hygge is usually done surrounded by family and/or friends in a comfy couch in front of the telly, possibly eating butter cookies and having coffee.


How to Create Instant Hygge

from http://www.studenterguide.dk/english/hygge.html

It is important to notice that hygge can never be forced upon a company. Nor can it be created actively. The atmosphere likely to bring it may be created, but this is no guarantee that hygge will actually occur. If the overall sense of intimacy, warmth, well being and relaxation is not there, hygge remains absent. However, this should not keep you from trying. Here is a suggestion of how to create a situation, which almost ensures hygge:

  1. Invite some people whose company you enjoy and who will get along well together
  2. Make some of them sit down in a comfortable sofa with plenty of cushions, in front of which is placed a coffee table with a lit candle on it. The others should occupy easy chairs, facing those seated in the sofa
  3. If it is dark outside, draw the curtains. If it is not June, July or August, turn on the heat. You may also want to put on some quiet, non-offensive music
  4. Serve your guests hot chocolate and cakes
  5. Maintain an informal conversation that leaves out no one and causes no major arguments
  6. If (5) does not work, turn on the TV

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