I can Hygge as well as you.
You’re probably familiar with the “cool words English needs to co-opt” listicles. Words in other languages that are untranslatable in English (the horror!) One such is the Danish word Hygge. Hygge means cozy, it means comfort and it also connotes a sense of conviviality. The enjoyment of a pleasant, initimate togetherness. While applicable across the year, winter is Hygge homeground — conjuring a vision of blankets, socks and hot, steaming beverages held by hands peeping out of woolen sweaters. Still, across the year and continents (I’m in India — to many of us winter is a fiction), the concept of Hygge is trending and I find this interesting for a few reasons.
(Very late into this year) I read this article. A couple of years ago I’d done some research into the prevalence of woodland creatures in the prevailing fashion trends of the time and what they might mean. This in turn, led me to readings about the Hipster trend in general as well as its predecessor, Twee. A lot of my research at the time seemed to conclude that the complexity of life in the digital age, weaving in and out of the real and the virtual, has created an urge to reach back to simpler times.
What does it mean for a generation to be reaching backward? We see it in today’s larger political trends as well. Maybe we’ve reached a point (due in part to the wide access to information and history on the internet) where we can gather ideas from anachronistic times and mix and match to fit current needs?
I find the idea of Hygge interesting because it comes at the heels of JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out), the slightly less popular popular sister of FOMO. It’s been gathering traction in a climate of growing global ‘conservatism’ that some commentators say is a reaction to globalization. A cultural idea, intrinsically part of Scandinavian life that celebrates the comfort of small groups, intimate friendships is co-opted at a global scale. Timing is important. As is the image of being wrapped up in blankets and socks almost cocooned away from the rest of the world. Just ask Pinterest.
Does the popularity of Hygge (in whatever oversimplified form we’re consuming it) point to our sense of insecurity? Maybe we’ve become too cynical and have lost faith in a modern world that quantifies every aspect of our lives. Maybe multiculturalism was too avant-garde? This article put some of the finer aspects of Hygge and multiculturalism into perspective for me.
Or maybe we just miss nature.That at the very least explains all the articles about houseplants on my facebook feed.