Friends meeting in the street might say that it has been hyggeligt to see each other, and someone who is fun to be with can be called a hyggelig fyr when he would hardly be described as a ‘cosy guy’. The truly emotive depth of the word hyggelig is best captured by considering its opposite, uhyggeligt, which means anything from cheerless through sinister to downright shocking and grisly.
To have a hyggelig time is social nirvana in Denmark. Candlelight is used to encourage a hyggelig atmosphere. In fact, the Danes are mad about candles and use them everywhere, both in public places like cafes, stores, bars, restaurants, and in their homes. The dim lighting helps to soften the clean, uncluttered surfaces and uncompromising white walls that are typical features of Danish living rooms. Everyone’s ideal is to have a Christiania kakkelovn (antique stove) or an open fireplace and feel the warmth from its hyggelige glow.
The Danes fight their cold and dark winters with their best weapon: hygge, and the millions of candles that go with it. Ever been to Tivoli Gardens or walked the streets of Copenhagen during the Christmas season? Then you know what Danes can do with lighting and mulled wine (known in Denmark as gløgg).
Though hygge's prime seasons are fall and winter, it also strives in the spring and summer when friends and family come together to enjoy each other's company.