One of my hygge-friends and fellow nookworms (member of the Hygge Nook) posted about hygge and said that she loved discovering “Everyone’s interpretations of hygge”
I like that; like hygge is a song we all sing, but some of us are rock chicks, others love both kinds of music; Country and Western and yet others find a string quartet floats their boat. It doesn’t matter, nor does it matter that what feels hygelig to you would make a Dane shudder or a Norwegian blanch. The point is that you have adopted the word and now it has your accent, your twist on it.
It’s like Chicken Tikka Masala. Surprisingly hailed as the UK’s Most Popular Dish by Robin Cook in 2001, its history stretches back to the First Moghul Emperor who wanted the bones removed. You can read the history of the dish on The Better India website. What I’m trying to say is that the dish, Chicken Tandoori, was an Indian dish but when it came over here with the wave of Indian immigration in the 1950s it was tried and adapted to local tastebuds. There was actually a campaign in to get Glasgow World Heritage Status as the originating city of Tikka Masala, because the story was that a diner found the tandoor chicken too dry and asked for a gravy. Robin Cook said,
“Chicken Tikka Masala is now a true British national dish, not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences.” (Parliament, 2001)
And it’s that last point that I think holds true with hygge. We do adopt ideas from around the world, but we give them a twist. A nation gives them a twist that suits the nation, so for example I could see tea being the hygge drink of many people in the UK, while coffee or coke must top the USA list, surely.
But equally validly we give an idea an individual twist. So many people over at the Hygge Nook have written in one way or another the realisation that hygge as an idea isn’t revolutionary, and is something that they’ve always done in their own way. A single Mum with no spare cash will, by necessity, find a way to hygge that is different from the single Man working in the City and more money than sense, for whom hygge can be the cabin in the woods as many weekends as he can spare.
The Scouse hygger may find themselves hanging out at Tribeca or La Lunya restaurants, or visiting Woolton Village where the coffee shops multiply by the week. A hygger person in Birmingham, Blackpool or Brighton will look blankly at those names, but their list will be local. We are creatures of habit, and of tribe, and we will take an idea and make it ours. We have to, to make use of what we have available. That’s why hygge is so universal a concept.
So, whether you are a punk rocker or a folk singer, whether you love your music LOUD or you hum quietly, go and enjoy your hygge your way. It’s never what we do that needs to be identical, but the principles behind it; love, peace, security, family and friendship, safety from the Outside/Dark/Dangers unnumbered, rest and respite from life. Respect how others hygge, and be open to new experiences whether you add them to your playlist or not.
Like the Sainsbury’s Advert above… and I hope you can all see it, whichever country you’re in…. we have such busy lives, we need to remember the Greatest Gift we have is time, for our loved ones and ourselves.
What a video heavy post! But some days a video says in 2 minutes what would take you ages.
If you love hygge and need a place to share, pop over to The Hygge Nook on Facebook. There’s always somebody posting a little something to inspire, admire or raise a smile. I love it; it’s such a positive place to be. I don’t know what I expected when I started the group, but it wasn’t for it to be such a fun thing and I never expected anybody else to post, so to have so many contributors is a really lovely feeling!