Hygge

WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY: MARIA FYNSK NORUP

This Danish concept has become increasingly popular of late, spreading like wildfire in the wake of the just as popular slow living idea. This makes perfect sense, as the two fit together like hand in glove. Not that you are required to live a slow life in order to incorporate hygge into your life, but it does require a mindful practise. The concept of hygge and having a hyggelig time is something that grew out of necessity, arising as a way to describe or encompass what people did - and still do today - when they withdraw inside during the darker and colder autumn and winter months.

In the time before electricity, central heating and the internet, when darkness fell, people gathered in the fire or candlelit kitchen to pass time with different handiworks like knitting, weaving, embroidering, whittling, or mending clothes and nets, whilst chatting and sometimes reading. Stumbling into a kitchen like that, you would be overwhelmed by the sense of hygge, especially if the air was filled with the scent of freshly baked loaves or herbs drying under the ceiling. Due to the amount of time spent indoors during the colder months, people would go to great lengths to create a cosy atmosphere with woollen blankets, cushions, candlesticks and curtains to keep the cold out.

These practises are still today very much part of what defines hygge. Spending quality time indoors together in a mindful way. Making chestnut creatures with your children whilst drinking hot cocoa. Cooking slow meals with your loved ones, baking together, dining with good friends, talking for hours over cups of coffee, or even curling up in your favourite chair with a blanket, a cup of tea and a good book. Activities perfectly suited for blustery days.

OCTOBER 2016