Forget hygge, lets cwtch

I am over hygge. In fact, I wasn’t ever under it. I have simply never understood the fascination with this strange, unpronounceable Danish word that, from what I could see, did little more than articulate what we have been doing in this country for a very long time: getting cosy. 

Hygge probably represents the most successful Danish invasion since King Sweyn the Second in the 11th century and is possibly equally as annoying. When joyless high street chain stores start annexing lifestyle trends to sell cheap, soulless goods you know it is time to move on. 

My intolerance for Hygge is not do with the philosophy itself, but that it has become an enormous Danish bandwagon onto which people have jumped headfirst without really seeming to have any connection, association or even understanding of what it is, and whether really it offers something we don’t already all do as a nation. It’s always felt to me like a cynical marketing ploy lacking in any substance or understanding.

For the last few years we have been instead using the Welsh word ‘Cwtch’ to describe any sort of cosy tendencies. This equally unpronounceable word, unapologetically devoid of vowels, is pleasingly onomatopoeic and really, doesn’t it just make you want to cwtch?

Cwtch’s direct English translation is cuddle, and also cubbyhole. But it is so much more than that. It’s the warm cuddle your grandmother gave you that made you feel safe and cosseted. It’s the tiny dark cupboard you’d tuck yourself away in during a game of hide and seek. It’s your secret hideaway where you feel safe and where no one can find you. It’s a happy snuggle that makes you remember the child within. 

Cwtch is a hugely evocative word, and as Welsh as a rugby choir. It’s Welsh blankets made for a Welsh winter, it’s enamel mugs of hot chocolate and bara brith after a walk along a bracing beach. It’s cawl in front of a fire on a cold, January day and cosy rugs on slate floors. 

So this autumn, let’s forget Hygge and let’s Cwtch. Let’s give the Danes back their beloved Hygge (if we haven’t ruined it for them) and let’s embrace our centuries old traditions of snuggling down and get ready for the long, cold winter the Welsh way.

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Under The Thatch

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