What is the Meaning of Hygge?

One of the most common questions we come across in Denmark is visitors or new transplants asking, “what does hygge mean?” But hygge isn’t just a word; it’s a concept, and as such, there’s really no direct translation.


Hygge definition: What does hygge mean?

If we had to give you a few sentences to define it, we’d say:

Hygge is about cosiness and surrounding yourself with the things that make life good, like friendship, laughter and security, as well as more concrete things like warmth, light, seasonal food and drink.

Hygge embodies a feeling of comfort, contentment, and well-being through simple and everyday experiences. It encompasses a range of feelings and experiences related to coziness, togetherness, and an appreciation for life’s small pleasures.


How to pronounce hygge?

The word Hygge is pronounced “hoo-gah.”


How to hygge?

There are so many ways to hygge, but there is one essential ingredient: candles! Check out our Illuminating Candle Guide if you want the specifics.

Other suggested ways to hyyge:

  • Play relaxing music
  • Cozy up with a cup of tea under a soft blanket
  • Read a good book
  • Relish in quiet company or tranquil solitude

Here’s a deeper look at the concept of hygge:

Coziness and Comfort

At its core, hygge is about creating an atmosphere of coziness and comfort in both your physical surroundings and your emotional state. It’s the feeling you get when you’re wrapped in a warm blanket on a chilly day or when you enjoy a cup of hot tea while reading a book.


Hygge emphasizes creating a warm and inviting atmosphere, often achieved through soft lighting, candles, and natural elements. Think of soft, warm lights and the soft crackling of a fireplace.


Hygge encourages spending quality time with loved ones, whether it’s friends, family, or close colleagues. It’s about fostering meaningful connections and enjoying the company of others.

Simple Pleasures

Hygge celebrates life’s simple pleasures, like enjoying a home-cooked meal, savoring a piece of chocolate, or taking a leisurely walk in nature. It’s about finding joy in the little things.

Embracing Seasons

Hygge is closely tied to the changing seasons and the rituals associated with each season. In the colder months, it might involve snuggling under blankets, while in warmer months, it could mean picnicking outdoors.


Hygge encourages being present in the moment and fully appreciating your surroundings and experiences. It’s a way to practice mindfulness and gratitude for the present.


The concept of hygge aligns with well-being and self-care. It’s about creating a space and a lifestyle that supports relaxation, comfort, and mental well-being.


Hygge often involves disconnecting from the digital world and embracing face-to-face interactions and analog activities, such as board games, reading physical books, or crafting.

Individual Interpretation

Hygge is personal and can be interpreted differently by individuals. What brings a sense of hygge to one person might be different for another. It’s about discovering what makes you feel content and peaceful.

Though hygge is often used to describe the way Danes survive winter (and it most definitely is the way we survive winter), being hyggeligt isn’t limited to the cold months.

Because the word hygge defies literal translation, here’s a visual representation of how to hygge throughout the seasons.


Winter Hygge

Perhaps the time when hygge is most needed, winter in Denmark is dark, cold and windy. So combat it with warming food, alcohol (or hot chocolate; you do you), candles, wool blankets, and lots of small gatherings with your friends.

This hygge can take place in a small restaurant or in the home. Extra points over Christmas, when hygge goes into overdrive.




Spring Hygge

Spring in Denmark can vacillate between absolutely lovely and absolutely abysmal. Likewise, hygge at this time of year can fill a fairly wide space.

When it’s cold, go with winter hygge. When it’s not so cold, spring hygge looks like garden parties with lots of flowers, light colors, and taking shelter from the rain in a cafe.




Summer Hygge

Ah, the hygge of summer. So simple, so free. Barbecues in the backyard or park, bonfires on the park, ice cream along the beach, strawberries. Now doesn’t that sound nice?




Autumn Hygge

Autumn hygge looks a lot like winter hygge except that you’re not quite as cold. Expect old fashioned apple cake, cinnamon, heavy jumpers and your number of dinner party/coffee date invitations to increase, because Danes will be sliding into the warm glow of peak hygge season…



Hygge or Else



Last edited

Rebecca Thandi Norman

Rebecca Thandi Norman is a co-founder and Editor-in-Chief at Scandinavia Standard.