So happy to have the opportunity to share my insights on a culture that I really learned to love. As many of you know, I lived in Denmark for five years before moving to the US. There, in the heart of Scandinavia, winter is long, rainy and dark. Even though there’s much to complain about, the Nordic attitude towards weather and bad conditions, never ceases to surprise me.
In this new article that I wrote for the Northwest Danish Association, you’ll discover a new way to enjoy winter. Really! Enjoy.
My hometown is Buenos Aires, in Argentina. Back there, comments are not so much on the seasons but on the weather, if unusually extreme (for instance heat waves in the summer and “colder” days in winter, but no more than that). I lived in Denmark for 5 years, before moving to the Pacific North West. I find that here, as it used to be in Denmark as well, winter is for many quite a slow and dark season.
For me, with my South American roots, winter in Denmark was a revelation. Of course, it was indeed a shock to find that days turned into nights so early, and that the rainy weather would hardly give us a break. However, the focus of the season was not to be wasted on those issues. In fact, the chilly weather was the perfect excuse to get cozy.
To start with, candles and decorating lights spread all over, inside and around houses, in the downtown squares and narrow streets. The famous hanging lights in the shape of hearts across the longest pedestrian street in Copenhagen, Strøget, was a reminder that the season of caring, giving and sharing with our hearts, had landed.
But winter in Denmark was much more than Christmas lights, Christmas markets and gløgg. Winter is just the perfect opportunity in the year to exercise “hygge” with close friends and family, even when the holidays are past.
Comfy reading and a hot cocoa. Warm cushions, board games and your favorite wine. Friends having some drinks around in the kitchen, while sharing cooking tasks with the hosts and learning the recipe. Talking about how we have exactly done the same the year before, so this cozy gathering has become a family tradition. What do all these moments have in common? Intimacy, relaxation, good conversations and delicious food.
This is the art of spending meaningful time with your loved ones. This is hygge. It is the way the Danes create their memories, while enjoying the journey. I believe this art of hanging out together by a candlelight is very inspiring practice and of course we should keep on with it all year round!
The print that illustrates the article is also inspired in the Danish winter. I hope you liked it and try out some new ways of warming up this cold season.