The Danish word hygge (pronounced “HUE-gah”) has no direct or single translation, it can be described as a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. In recent years it has been described as a defining characteristic of Danish culture and many books have been written on the subject.
Hygge has a number of key ingredients – atmosphere, pleasure, comfort and harmony are paramount and come from doing simple things such as lighting candles, baking, or spending time at home with your family: The high season of hygge is Christmas, when Danes don’t hold back with the candles and mulled wine.
Perhaps hygge explains why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world.
Why not follow the Danish example and bring more hygge into your daily life!
Fika is considered a social institution in Sweden; it means taking a break, most often a coffee break where pastries and other baked goods are eaten. Fika is more than just a coffee break though, it’s about slowing down and taking time out usually in the company of friends or colleagues.
Fika can happen at any time of day and can take anything from 10 minutes to several hours, depending on how good you are at Fika-ing. It can be enjoyed at home, at work or in a café. It is a tradition observed frequently, preferably several times a day!
Accompanying sweets treats are often cinnamon buns, cakes and cookies, even open-faced sandwiches pass as acceptable fika fare.
It comes as no surprise that Swedes are among the top consumers of coffee and sweets in the world – or that Swedes appreciate the good things in life.
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