I just read about this Danish tradition in an article on the multi-faith website Patheos. This article defined hygge as "coziness," such as making your living space cozy throughout the cold winter months. Focusing on light, warmth, candles, and gathering together with friends. There are many internet articles on hygge, of course, and the Wiki entry on Denmark mentions it up top. I know I'm not discovering something that's been around for eons, but this is the first I heard of it, and it's intriguing!
While searching for articles on hygge, I found an editorial written by Jessica Vozel. (Written for the Pittsburgh Herald-Standard.) Vozel points out that Americans would have difficulty with hygge because so many of us rush through our lives, value achievement over down-time, and think it lazy to sit around with friends four hours in a cafe. I won't get into the psychology of it, but she has a point. I do see people lounging around Starbucks (I myself am a frequent visitor), but by themselves ... I see fewer and fewer people gathering in groups at coffee houses.
I myself love coffee and coffee shops, but I rarely share my coffee-drinking time with friends. I have coffee at work at my desk while I'm working, in the morning while I get ready, on the weekend as a grab-and-go from Starbucks, to drink in the car!
But back to hygge, which is not about coffee...
I am not a very social creature, so the community gathering concept of hygge is rather lost on me. I am, as my nickname suggests, an unmarried woman of a certain age. My friends have children and have their own lives, and, sadly but understandably, there is no longer time for lazy mornings hanging around La Madeleine's over late breakfast and coffee.
So, in other ways, to get through the long Mid-Atlantic winters, I shall do what I can to observe hygge throughout the cold months. Candles, greenery, hot beverages, and warm cozy wool.
There appears to be an entire web directory dedicated to hygge, and I am going to go explore it.
Spinster Beth (with Fat Petunia in the corner)