“Hygge” pronounced as “hoo-gah” is an integral part of the Danish culture. Since it does not have an equivalent English word the closest meaning would be “a cozy feeling.”
But the word “hygge” may be interpreted in several ways by Danish people. Some may tell you hygge means cooking together with family by candlelight while someone else may say enjoying a coffee by the fireplace all by yourself.
In its very essence hygge, signifies anything that evokes a feeling of warmth, coziness, contentment and finally happiness. A keystone of Danish culture, hygge mostly involves having quality time with loved ones, mingled with good food and great conversations.
The emphasis is on creating an atmosphere where you slow down, relax and enjoy the present moment. Everyone could use a little hygge in their lives, especially couples who would love to wind down and enjoy some cozy date nights. Besides, hygge can have a very positive impact in your relationship.
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Historical Context on Hygge
The word Hygge comes from the Norwegian word ‘hugga,’ which means “to comfort” or “to console,” literal English translation would be the word “hug”.
Infact most Scandanavian countries have their own concept of “Hygge’, like in Norway it’s know as “koselig” or in Sweden it’s known as Swedish lagom (LAW-gm), broadly meaning “just enough” or “adequate”.
Denmark, which is one of the five Scandinavian nations, has bone-crushing winter when the sun disappears for days. In earlier times, during such long winter nights Danish people relied on certain home activities to keep them warm, comfortable and entertained. This is roughly how hygge became a part of the Danish culture.
Why is Hygge so popular?
Denmark is among the happiest countries, as per the World Happiness Index. Infact all Nordic nations have a high Human Development Index which is why the Nordic way of life has aroused a certain curiosity, and hygge has huge role in this.
I mean just consider this, the Nordic countries have the most torturous weather conditions – long dark winters when the sun doesn’t come out for days and the midnight sun phenomenon during summer when some places get sunlight 24/7.
Imagine how difficult it must be for their sleep cycle. Due to their unique weather conditions, Nordic people are also in constant risk of being affected by seasonal affective disorder.
But to their credit, Nordic people have taken their natural weather conditions in their stride and built for themselves a high quality of life, which includes good healthcare system, well-planned infrastructure, and social security, also not to forget the paid maternity leaves.
For Danes and other Nordic people hygge is a way of life, it is something they strive to maintain throughout their lives.
How can Hygge help in improving relationships/family life?
In this rapidly changing modern world our emotions have become complex. We are easily angry, offended and most of us value our self-worth in social media comments and likes. Don’t get me wrong technology has brought us close but it has also resulted in too many distractions making us less self-aware.
All this has affected our inter-personal relationships, like misunderstandings over trivial issues or frequent break-ups or lack of meaningful relationships. Our lives are also too busy lives to seek pleasure in simple stuff like, a good family banter or engaging in heartfelt conversation without checking the phone every few minutes.
Hygge is a form of self-care and a great lesson in mindfulness. It can help forge deeper bond with your partner or your family. It teaches us love ourselves and appreciate life by living the present moment.
Believe it or not Hygge isn’t a new concept
Most of us are not unknown to hygge and have experienced such warm and content moments at one some point. Below mentioned are some instances of such cozy moments we all are familiar with.
1. Enjoying a movie on our sofa under a warm blanket.
2. Sipping a warm cup of coffee in a comfortable corner of our home.
3. Reading a book on a cold winter night tucked under layers of quilts.
4 Curling our toes under a warm blanket while sleeping.
5. Watching the clouds fly.
6. Walking in the rain.
7. Listening to the rustling of leaves.
8. Enjoying a hearty dinner by the fireplace with our loved ones.
And so on… Now you might think, wait a minute! I am all too familiar with these things then why is Danish hygge so special. The difference is the intention. Danes look forward to create a harmonious environment full of warmth and coziness, without distractions.
Now how many times were you actually present in the moment without being stressed about a hundred other things?
Indoor hygge date ideas for couples – Creating a Cozy Ambience at Home
Hygge is not complicated – Comfort, company and simplicity – are some of the basic hygge components. Some hygge inspired date ideas could be great for you and your partner and it could improve several aspect of your relationship like communication and team-work. Here are some indoor hygge dates you could try.
The concept of hygge is primarily centered on winter, most of the ideas here may seem perfect for a winter date night. But you can try these ideas irrespective of the season, make your own adjustments as you plan, but don’t change the basic components of comfort, company and simplicity.
Light up a cozy nook with some soft lights
Make your own cozy corner where you and your partner can stay curled up amid lots of soft pillows and throw blankets. Since lights are important in creating hygge like atmosphere, use some nice soothing soft fairy lights that aren’t very harsh to the eye and help to create the ultimate romantic atmosphere.
Wear comfortable clothes, (say yes to those ugly but super comfy sweatpants)
Wear something super comfortable even that worn out sweat pant you want to donate each year will do, pair those with some chunky oversized cardigans and you are all set. And before you ask no, your partner won’t judge you because he too will be wearing something similar, in fact ask him to wear his most comfortable attire and there are more chances of him wearing his age old denims. Also oversized and comfortable clothes like thick woolen socks and clunky sweaters are super hygge.
Watch some classic Nordic Noir
Nordic Noir is stuff of legends! No I’m not exaggerating, because they are that good, and you guys will practically get addicted. Plus watching a good thriller tucked inside a warm quilt with your partner? Yes please! In case you don’t know where to start, Netflix has some great collection of Nordic thrillers like – The Bridge, Young Wallander, The Killing and Equinox.
Read some good books (brownie points for Nordic literature)
Nordic literature is so vast and still somewhat undiscovered, right from mythology, to contemporary or thriller you can learn so much about the Nordic culture. If you and your partner love books you will certainly enjoy enriching your knowledge on Nordic heritage. Here are some book recommendations in various genres.
Also if you wish to know more about hygge there two amazing books that can provide more insights on the subject.
The Little Book of Hygge: Written by Meik Wiking, this is one the most popular book written on the hygge and underlines the crucial role of hygge in high level of contentment and happiness among Danes.
How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life by Signe Johansen gives you hands-on tips and recipes on creating a hygge like atmosphere at home.
Have some interesting conversations by the candlelight
Candle lights just add another dimension to a date night; it’s more romantic too. Light lots of candles preferably– natural unscented candles – so as the aroma doesn’t overpower your conversation. You can also use some hygge lamps to enhance the effect.
Now get your mugs of warm coffee, keep your phones aside use some comfy throw blankets to wrap yourself and settle for a heart to heart conversation. Here are some conversation starters you guys could use.
Brighten your indoors with some plants
Create a lively atmosphere in your home by planting some indoor plants like succulents, Monstera and Philodendron that are typically low maintenance. Plants can have a very soothing effect on your mind as well as brighten up your indoors.
In addition to plants, vibrant art pieces, sheer curtains, some wild flowers from your garden can also create a very positive environment in your home.
Hygge inspired holiday décor
Since hygge is usually associated with winter, use this as an inspiration for your holiday décor and create the ultimate festive atmosphere in your home. Hang some paper star lanterns all throughout your home to give a Christmassy feel.
Make that gingerbeard house place some gnomes besides it, take time to decorate your Christmas tree and the front porch and finally if you have kids, build a snowman.
Hyyge Inspired Food Date Ideas
Hygge often involves preparing food, in your kitchen with your family or neighbors, where everyone participates in the cooking process and enjoys a hearty meal later.
As couples cooking together can reveal a lot of things about your relationship, like how fluid is your communication, how coordinated are you as partners, how well you work as teammates.
You could also involve your friends or your families and kids to participate; it’d give you a chance to catch up with your close ones.
Bake/Cook some comfort food
Use this hygge date night, to cook and relish some Nordic delicacies like Danish meatballs, pastries or cakes. And please don’t worry about calories when you are enjoying that extra piece of brownie, stressing about calories when you are having your meal is very un-hygge.
Here is a really simple recipe of Danish soup with meatballs that you could cook together.
Roast some s’mores
If you want to keep things simple for your date night, roast some s’mores, as you stay curled by fireplace together.
Sip some hot chocolate
Enjoying hot drinks from a cozy is super hygge, and if you are sipping it after a couple of hours out in the cold then you would appreciate the hot chocolate even more.
Drink some wine
Since hygge is enjoying the moment and what better way to do this than sipping some wine in some joyful company. Savor your drink by being intentional, note and appreciate the aromas, tastes and texture of your wine, and there you have the perfect hygge moment.
Date Night with Hygge Games
A game date night with good company good food and lots of love and laughter is everything hygge is all about. Plan your couples’ date night, where you invite your other friends and enjoy a fun evening of hygge games. Let it be an excellent evening of anecdotes and discussions about life in general. Keep things light and interesting. Here are highly popular hygge game recommendations from Amazon.
Hygge Outdoor Activities
These are some fun outdoor activities to help you create some memorable hyggeligt moments with your partner. Most of these activities are perfect for winter, but then there is no lack of outdoor activities for couples in other seasons as well.
Have a Bonfire
A bonfire is a great idea for a winter date or spending some good time with your friends outdoors with some beer and special bonfire menu like hotpot, chocolate popcorns or lamb stew.
Ice Skating and Sledding
Both ice-skating and sledding are typical winter activities that are definitely fun and more so when you involve your friends and family. Make sure there are enough snacks and coffee in the thermos when you are finally finish.
Go enjoy some sunshine
Nordic people may go on for days without sunlight in winter, but that doesn’t mean you guys can’t enjoy some tranquil moments in the winter sun, besides walking in the snow hand in hand with your one and only, oh yes! That’s some fairytale stuff right there.
Final Thoughts on Hygge for Better Relationships
There is a reason why Danes and other Nordic nations top the list of happiest countries in the world regularly. It is because they prioritize happiness by focusing on simple things in life. If you wish to strengthen your relationship, take a leaf of out these simple Danish rituals and focus on having some cozy time with your partner.
Hope you liked this write-up and a big thank you for reading, before you leave please have a look at these similar articles.