Ask any Nord about hygge and you’ll get the same reaction as telling them they’re the “happiest people on Earth“. A grimace and a shrug. Not sure there’s an emoji for it yet, but the old ‘shrug’ emoticon comes close.
Not close enough, though. Too much smiling.
Because in Nordic countries “happiness” has nothing to do with smiling. We don’t, much. If a Scandinavian is smiling at you, you’re either one of the two people they like, or they’re about to bite you. That’s it. Like or bite.
You can take your pick of melancholy adjectives to describe us Finns, for example. Allegedly the happiest of the happy four years running, the infamous 1993 60 Minutes segment described Finns as “brooding and private; grimly in touch with no one but themselves; the shyest people on Earth.”
Not incorrect, just irrelevant.
Irrelevant because Finns don’t care what Americans think especially. We get the feeling you’re making fun of us, which just gets you knifed in a carpark. Besides, us kings of disco don’t have time for stupid labels. We’re too busy dancing.
Scented candles, mulled wine, hand-knitted jumpers and ‘pantsdrunk‘ (kalsarikännit: drinking at home alone in your underpants) doth not make hygge. By trying to make hygge something you can sell off a shelf at West Elm, you missed the point.
Besides, in Finland it’s more about the hyppytyynytyydytys.