The Nordic nations are usually winning the top positions in the list of the happiest countries around the world. People try to explain this phenomenon with the word hygge, which describes the imagined quality of Nordic life, but what that hygge is? Sometimes specific cultural concepts are taking over and gaining popularity very fast. One of such examples could be hygge. It is a word that often describes the imagined quality of Nordic life with all its inherent warmth, home coziness, and life satisfaction. Hygge is a distinctive feature of the region, as a result, this word is called a Nordic brand now.
The word hygge is usually not even tried to be translated. Admittedly, it is not translated: there is no exact equivalent in English. The only way out is to tame the word as it is in the original language, instead of trying to find a way to translate it as correctly as possible. Hygge, as some interpreters have argued, implies a certain feature: a state of consciousness into which man is immersed under certain conditions. In terms of this feature, images of the Scandinavian countries, especially Denmark and Norway, are visible. It is not the case, however, people who speak other languages and live elsewhere never experience what is described by the word hygge.
The Search for Happiness
Why has hygge been suddenly taken care of by many around the world in recent years? Of course, the reasons for this phenomenon are complex and ambiguous. However, it is very likely that all this has to do with the perception that the Nordic countries are adopted the very simple way of living.
Whenever one of the top happiest countries is announced, there is no doubt that the Nordic countries are in the first positions. Norway leads the United Nations World Happiness Report, which ranks countries according to the subjective perceptions of their people’s well-being; it is followed by Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden.
In trying to understand this, most rely on concepts such as hygge. However, Nordic prosperity is not just about hygge. Such happy Nordics feel because of many different socio-cultural factors. First, the Nordic countries are relatively rich and socially stable. However, some other less prosperous and stable countries, such as Britain or the United States, cannot boast such a high level of life satisfaction. The low social exclusion and fair decisions of social politics have a huge impact also.
What Is the Role of Hygge?
Anyway, the hygge factor in Nordic life is very important. Hygge means something like coziness. Many people would probably imagine a stereotypical picture of a hygge in something like this: a few nice Danes are having a nice chat in the room lighted by the candles. In ancient Scandinavian (or Norwegian), the word hugga means to calm down. So, the hygge can be associated with the state of feeling that someone is taking care of us, protecting us from the misfortunes of life in general.