What’s all this fuss about hygge, lagom and fika? I’m finding it very hard to keep up with the Johansen’s….every time I turn around, there is a new Scandinavian trend I am told I need to pay attention to, and they’re coming fast and furious. Here is my attempt to de-mystify the new trends, Hygge, Lagom and Fika.
First, there was HYGGE.
According to manrepller.com, the term was shortlisted to be the 2016 Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year (ok, so “post-truth” won, what can you do?) It is a Dutch word, most commonly pronounced “hoo-gah” and generally means a state of coziness. When I think hygge, I think “naked by the fire next to someone you love, with a bunch of candles, a warm woolen blanket, some old slippers, a glass of wine and some chocolate truffles.” But that may just be me.
I first heard about hygge a few months ago, at the end of 2016, ironically the exact same weekend I had just finished reading the Marie Kondo book, The Lifesaving Magic of Tidying Up. As I was getting psychologically prepared to clean out my sock and underwear drawer, I came across this article from manrepller.com (don’t you love that name?) which gave me permission to forget the tidying up, because, clearly, it was more important to get cozy. I lit a candle, got naked, poured a glass of red wine and grabbed my husband under the covers. I must say, it edged out an evening of sorting and folding my panties.
But many others have their own ideas of how to hygge. The hashtag #hygge has millions of Pinterest-perfect pictures to scroll through. Have fun checking them out — any way you do hygge, you can’t really lose, because getting cozy, especially in winter, is a no brainer.
…and then…just when I got comfortable hygge-fying my life….I heard about LAGOM
LAGOM is a Swedish concept, and according to the NYMagazine, Vogue says it has taken the place of hygge, which is DONE, DONE, DONE! Well, I say that is a shame, shame shame. But if you are following trends, just go ahead and forget about too many candles and glasses of wine and chocolates. Enter: moderation.
The word LAGOM translates to “not too much, not too little.” Lagom doesn’t aim to capture a feeling, it is a way of life. This is not a new concept for me. My Bubbie Lilly was way ahead of her time, as she lived this concept- never trying out anything outrageous. Decades before any of us in America ever heard of Lagom, my bubbie, at least once a day, to everyone she came across, espoused the concept: “everything in moderation!” If we had been thinking, we should have written those words on her tombstone.
With Lagom, here is what would be OUT (according to me): gigantic mansions, whole milk, over-sized anything, Donald Trump.
Generally, I don’t love the concept of lagom, and don’t intend on lagom-ing my life. My motto has always been, “everything in moderation…even moderation.”
I didn’t actually think the concept of lagom would catch on (moderation is generally not so fun,) but before I could say “half-caff” ….lagom may have been ousted by
FIKA (pronounced “fee-kah”)
Unlike Lagom, Fika is something I could get into (and not a half-caff Fika either.) According to purewow.com, the word roughly translates to “coffee break,” but it’s much more than that…”It’s the beloved Swedish and Finnish custom of pausing during your day to catch up with friends over a cup of coffee and a sweet treat.”
So bring on the baked goods with that cup of Joe in a beautiful cup! Baked goods traditionally take the form of Swedish cinnamon buns, but cookies, cake, or other baked treats will also do the trick. “The important thing is the act of slowing down and taking a break—in other words, chugging a latte from the Starbucks drive-through doesn’t cut it,” says purewow.com.
If you are going to fika at home, check out this book: Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. There are fika coffee bars popping up everywhere (especially in NYC), and for sure you can start a new trend by upping your coffee break with your co-workers at the office– bring in some nice cups and some cinnamon buns, and fika your heart out.
And just because we are talking Scandinavian today, for a little fun, check out these 18 brilliant Scandinavian words that we so desperately could use in English.
And to think, when I was growing up, all we had was the Scandinavian Design store.