Hygge In Boston
by Marianne Farrell
Photography by Callie Ahlgrim
When first hearing the term “hygge,” one probably does not associate the term “coziness” with it. It is a strange word, one that does not have a direct translation in English, but is actually one of the most vital parts of Danish culture and life. We have all definitely felt this term before, and after knowing what the term means it seems silly that there is not a term like this in English.
Hygge describes a feeling of overwhelming comfort or coziness. People feel this way everyday, yes, but hygge takes that comfort or coziness and makes it a part of your daily life. The website Hygge House defined hygge as “the art of creating intimacy.”
For college students, getting away from our stressful lives is important to keep us levelheaded. So, take from the Danish, who make hygge a part of their daily life. Hygge positively affects their attitudes. It is proven as the Danish are known as some of the happiest people in the world, according to the United Nation’s World Happiness Report where they placed first in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
Here’s a great example: Miss Congeniality. When Cheryl Frasier, soon to be crowned Miss USA, gets asked about her ideal date, her response echoes the true essence of hygge: April 25th, when it’s not hot or too cold. She later adds that she would love to walk along to beach talking about books, music and movies. That sense of simplicity and charm perfectly captures what hygge is. It is the perfect, comfortable scenario for her.
The term may still seem confusing, so several Boston University students told me about where they feel the most sense of peace and comfort in Boston. Every time they talked about their special place where they felt hygge, they completely lit up.
“The bike path right by the BU beach. I go there and walk whenever I'm super overwhelmed and just think about everything. It's a good escape,” said Kristin Lunt (COM ’20).
Not everyone felt hygge near Boston University though; for some, hygge will always be connected to home.
“A movie theater,” said Matthew Katz (COM ’20). “I have so many memories there and it's somewhere you can pretend you're back at home.”
Others chose new places they have found in Boston that truly make them feel perfectly happy with life.
“The Paradise Rock. It's so intimate and you're really close to the artists you're seeing,” said Sarah Cristine Burrola (COM ’20). “Everyone is pressing closer to you and you feel like that's where you should be.”
“Boston Common when it's warm out and you can just sit and watch people by the pond,” said Harrison Rusk (COM ’20). “It's cozy and relaxing.”
While all these places may perfectly encapsulate the feeling of hygge, it does not necessarily have to be a place. The whole point of hygge is to capture the feeling of comfort no matter where you are.
“For me it's not a place, it's a group of people,” said Elani Elizondo (CGS ’20). “Being with my friends makes me feel at home. I go on Friday expeditions with my friends and every time I'm with them it feels like hygge.”
It is hard to truly know where you feel hygge until you reach that place. Once you find that perfect sense of security and home in Boston than you can truly understand hygge. For me, I find thrift shopping trips to Allston on perfectly sunny days the ultimate hygge in Boston.
No matter where hygge is for anyone, I highly encourage everyone to go and find that hygge. Hygge can truly make our lives happier and healthier, and make us even better BU students.
Photos taken at Walden Pond, Concord, Mass.