Hygge: The Art of Coziness
I love snuggling up to the fire around this time of year, wrapped in a cozy blanket with a cup of steaming tea or hot chocolate. Maybe it’s because I’m cold a lot or maybe it’s because it’s in my blood. My great grandfather Harold Lunde immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s from Norway. He was a painter and was invited to paint at the New York State Fair. In Nordic culture and many Danish countries, there is something called hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”). Even as part Norwegian, I hadn’t heard of this term before. It wasn’t until a congregant right here at Lovely Lane shared an article with me about hygge. You’re probably wondering what is hygge, and how does it relate to Advent?
The term hygge is a Danish word that simply means enjoying the simple things of life. It’s sometimes translated as ‘the art of coziness.’ While there are many elements that can contribute to a feeling of coziness, hygge is more of an inner/social state. The fire in the fireplace, the blankets, the warm cup of hot chocolate, the twinkling of the Christmas lights, the wool sweater, etc. are reflections of what hygge really is. It takes an inner state, a change or a way of being, to find comfort in those things in particular.
Quite like here in the Midwest, in many Nordic countries, the season of hygge occurs during the darkest and coldest months. It can certainly contribute to seasonal depression for many folks, me included. Jonas Ellison, a contributor to the Salt Project’s, “Advent and Hygge: The Art of Coziness,” writes, “The darker it is outside, the brighter the light can shine inside. In this regard, darkness isn’t an enemy of the joy and light that comes from hygge; rather it’s a comfortable blanket that enfolds it.” I really like that connection to Advent and the lighting of the Advent candles, especially in a season of incredible stress and consumerism. If we can cultivate a sense of hygge in our home, that feeling of comfort, safety, and peace, it can be another way that the light coming into the world can shine in our own home and in our hearts.
If you’d like to purchase the Advent Devotional mentioned in this article, head to: https://www.saltproject.org/advent-and-hygge/advent-family-devotionals