After a colossal fuck up of a week and much more pleasant first part of the weekend, I can only super intelligently conclude – life moves on. It really does. Even if it’s moving in a slightly awkward, gloomy way. The love of cinematography and simple design aesthetic of clothes, interior and life in general started bringing Scandinavia to my focus 4 or 5 ago. More precisely, the mentioned cinematographic aspect placed Denmark in the spotlight of my interests. I have this love – hate relationship with the most internationally acclaimed Danish director, controversial (by American standards at least) Lars von Trier because let’s say I like half of his (newer) work and the rest not so much due to unknown reasons, I’ve never felt the need to explore them by now. I just want to add that the ‘touchy’ subjects or gruesome, overly sexualized scenes are not part of the problem, on the contrary, I am used to and usually drawn to that kind of ‘vivid’ expression.
Anyways, thanks to von Trier I’ve discovered the Dogme movement and director Thomas Vinterberg whos style blew me away after watching the movie The Celebration. The days of following Dogme rules are now behind him, but I continue to appreciate every new film he creates. Ugh, this was not supposed to turn into a movie post, but I have to add some other directors like Nicolas Winding Refn, Anders Thomas Jensen and Susanne Bier. Many different styles (for example Winding Refn and Bier are almost incomparable to me; aggression vs, pure emotion), but they all have something in common – the dark, ironic, raw, sometimes humorous approach to the story. The dark part can easily be described as ‘too dark’ for those who like to cherish society’s taboos or are simply used to a different sense of humour/storytelling.
All those elements they generally have in common can be perscriped to Danish mentality and social structure; this can’t be applied to the whole nation of course, it’s more of a generalized stereotype of traits such as: self criticizm, tolerance, equality, being prone to modest, but quality lifestyle, etc. And of course, the all round acceptance of alcohol consumption from the teenage years – maybe that’s why the Danes keep regaining ‘the happiest people in the world’ title.
The motivation to write all of this on a cold but feel – good cosy Saturday afternoon is one word that is getting more and more popular on social media – hygge (pronounced hoo-ga or something like that – Danish language is weird).
The thing about languages is that each one of them has some words that can’t be translated in English for example, but they can be closely described in a way, but without capturing the full meaning known to the native ‘inventors’ of the word. To put it as simply as possible – hygge is a trademark that represents Danish approach to life, it basically means ‘creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people‘.
It can be translated as ‘cosyness’ or ‘togetherness’, but the simple translation doesn’t do it justice. Having a tasty cup of coffee/tea with your friends is hygge. Reading an awesome book curled up on a sofa with a blanket is hygge. Having a walk in the park while holding hands is hygge. Inviting a couple of friends home for a simple dinner and talk is hygge.
You get the picture, and if you haven’t by now – google it, the photos are amazing. Also, I have to share another quote/description of hygge that I found and find the most attractive, just reading it makes me calm down:
A complete absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things.
The christmassy time of the year we’re in now is when hygge is most appreciated due to cold weather, especially in Denmark and the rest of the Scandinavia. It’ s a way of saying ‘Yes it’s really dark and cold, but hey, we can be happy and have fun nevertheless!’
I appreciate the little things more than anything, I’ve always had, even though I didn’t know that whole set of feelings and simple pleasures has its own name. The best part of it all is, you can create hygge with no problems starting from your home – find some candles, use different lightning or even light bulbs, get a warm blanket, maybe a new fluffy rug… or take a bubble bath! You can experience hygge alone or by inviting your favourite people over, the only important thing is to feel comfortable and relaxed. That’s about it, can you feel it already ?