I learned my new favorite word in Norway: hygge.

There is no exact translation for the word hygge, but I don’t think one is needed. The same spelling and pronunciation of the word is used all over Scandinavia. While it always represents the same idea, it can have a variety of meanings to different people.

To me, hygge means going out of your way to create a warm and comfortable atmosphere while gathering with friends and family, to have conversation over good food and strong drinks. ISN’T THAT WONDERFUL? I’m infatuated with the word. And I think that’s because I experienced the feeling of hygge before I knew it existed.

We stayed with our friend, Dag, in Norway who offered to make us a typical Norwegian Christmas dinner. He set up decorations, filled the room with subtle candles and spent the day of our arrival cooking. Yes, he is a true gentlemen and a wonderful host. It’s inspiring. We sat down for an early dinner with nothing but time.  As we moved on from taste of the delicious salted and dried lamb ribs and the smashed swede, we poured ourselves a third shot glass of a Norwegian liquor and opened up another beer. Suddenly, I felt a blanket of warmth come over me. The room was warmly lit and conversation flowed with ease. I felt safe. The mood was intimate, cozy and serene.

While looking around I came to the realization that I was in a state of complete and utter pleasantness and lost track of the conversation going on around me. When I came back to the moment, I mentioned how lovely this dinner had been. Four hours had gone by in the blink of an eye and I hadn’t even noticed. Dag then explained the concept of hygge and how it’s become a common practice to do it every weekend.

See, what I love about hygge is that it’s a feeling people do. It doesn’t just appear on it’s own. People are always going on about how they want to be happy, but I don’t think someone can just be happy all of the time. I do think you can put in effort to feel happy as much as humanly possible. Hygge, to me, is just that. Putting in the effort and time so that you and your loved ones can enjoy the simple things in life.

This isn’t a new religion I’m devoting my life to, but committing to doing hygge every Sunday is a tradition I can definitely get around.

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