If you can believe it, the Danish get even less sunlight during the winter than we do in Calgary. Being close to the sea, they don’t get quite as much snow, but they sure get a ton of rain—and that doesn’t even stop them from relying on bikes as their primary means of transportation! I checked their sunlight hours back in early January and it was going to be bright for only seven hours, the sun sets at 4:00 p.m!
When we were in Copenhagen last summer, we noticed that the Danes were really big on candles. There were candles in every home, shop and restaurant; they have the most beautiful candle holder selection I’ve ever seen! When I commented on the Danish obsession with candles, Sonya and Anders explained the brilliant concept of Danish hygge (“hue-ga”), or coziness.
In Denmark, to counteract the long, dark winter nights, Danes come together and keep each other company. They drink cocktails, tea or coffee in front of a fire or surrounded by a ton of candles. They may even play boardgames. Ultimately, hygge is a sense of cozy togetherness and it’s pretty perfect. NPR has a great article on how the Danes use hygge to keep happy on cold, dark days (and all year!).
An inadvertent subscriber to hygge, my Mom has always been a candle fanatic. All winter, as soon as the sun starts to set, she lights all the candles in her kitchen and living room. She also keeps a roaring fire. Going home to sit by the fire and drink a glass of wine or enjoy a good meal with my family is one of my favourite things. I think I’ve inherited at least a little bit of that warm coziness and after adding some gorgeous Danish candlesticks to our collection and perfecting my mulled wine and kringel bread recipes, I think we have it dialed.
Have you ever heard of hygge? What do you do to make short winter days a little cozier?
P.S. here are some beautiful Danish candles to add a little more hygge to your life: