Scandinavian Traditions: Hygge + Fika
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Take a break from the daily grind of homework assignments, college decisions, and family drama to take care of yourself by appreciating the hyggeligt things in your life and having fika. The Scandinavian concepts of hygge and fika came onto the international stage in 2016 and spread on Instagram and other social media platforms. Now, it’s Zephyrus’s turn to introduce these concepts to you.
The Danish concept of hygge made Oxford Dictionaries’ 2016 “word of the year” shortlist, and, although there is no direct Danish to English translation for hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh”) it can be used as a noun, verb, or adjective. For example: “I set the table for hygge,””I’m going to hygge as soon as I get home,” “the hyggeligt candle makes my day.”
With varied definitions around the world, hygge is perhaps best described as a state of appreciating life’s simple pleasures to better your mental state. A candle’s warm glow. Putting on your new wool socks. The feel of a cup of tea in your favorite mug, surrounded by your closest family and friends. Hygge is easier to experiencein the winter time, and while everyone experiences it in a different way, it is certainly a way to take a holiday from the holiday craziness.
This vision of comfort among friends pairs nicely with the Swedish concept of fika (pronounced “Fee-ka”) that can be used as a noun or a verb. Another Scandinavian concept that does not have a direct translation other than “to have coffee,” fika is a way to celebrate hygge accompanied with pastries or a little snack. A fika break is typically taken in late morning or early afternoon, and unlike hygge, it is a staple of (Swedish) everyday life to appreciate life’s small pleasures.
Whereas hygge is celebrated amongst people, fika can be taken with whoever, whenever: with your coworker at your office or alone in your favorite museum’s cafe. Instead of grabbing your Starbucks venti order, take a break at your local coffee shop and sit down to relax. Peace Coffee on Minnehaha Ave. S in Minneapolis is my favorite fika destination to escape the daily grind; they have a fabulous chai and great pastries. When fika is taken everyday, it becomes a lifestyle committed to the hygge philosophy, and hygge can only be taken to the next level when you add a sweet treat and a cup of coffee to your set-up.
With the nonstop stress that was 2016, whether that be due to college decisions, intolerance, or school, fika paired with hygge are the perfect prescriptions for 2017. Take a time out to relax by eating good food, appreciating the small things in life surrounded by family and friends this winter.