Has anyone missed the Hygge craze that swept the world in past year? I can’t imagine that’s possible. As a Swede, it was kind of funny to see how hygge all of a sudden, and seemingly out of nowhere, took off and became the new hot Scandinavian thing.
But now that we all know how to hygge, what’s next? I have recently come across several articles that suggest that the Swedish “lagom” is next, which seems absurd to me. Why would anyone want to be lagom?
I have seen lagom interpreted as “just right” and while that is a technically correct translation, to us Swedes, the connotation of the word is different. Lagom is a term to describe anything average and middle of the road. Not too warm, not too cold, not to colorful, not too fantastic, not too adventurous. It’s bland, vanilla, boring. And also often used in a negative way. As in:
– How was your blind date last night?
– Ha! Lagom fun!
In this situation, lagom lets us know that the date was anything from really boring to a complete disaster.
So why then, would you want your house or yourself to be lagom?
Mysa, The Swedish Hygge
I propose that the next Scandinavian “thing” should be the Swedish Mysa. It’s very similar to hygge, and we Swedes love to mysa. Mysa translates to English as “cozy”, but it is more than that. It involves being relaxed, taking time out from stress and musts, spending time with friends, and being in the moment, enjoying it with all your senses. The moment is whatever you enjoy, and this is of course very individual, but there are many situations that most of us would agree are mysiga (cozy).
A good example is sitting in front of a wood burning fireplace with a cup of hot cocolate on a dark winter afternoon. You have the visual (the fire, steam from the cocoa), the scent (smoke from the fire, the cocoa), sound (crackling from the fire), touch / feel (holding the warm mug, warmth from the fire), and taste (the cocoa). SO mysigt!
Mysighet is everywhere in Sweden, and takes on different forms depending on the season.
So what then does Mysa and its (many) variations mean?
Mysa – to be cozy
Mysighet, Mys – coziness
Mysig, Mysigt – a cozy environment or situation
Mysa, mysigt and mysighet often describe a situation or environment, but you can also add “mys” to any other word to describe the coziness that goes with it. As in:
This is an established “thing” in Sweden and describes spending Friday (Fredag) night at home, chilling out after a long work week, preferably on the couch in comfy clothes with a favorite movie, beverage, food, lit candles, a cuddly blanket, and other family members. Or whatever else you need to add to achieve mysighet.
Relaxing on your balcony (balkong), that you have decorated to feel like a cozy indoor room, in a comfortable chair in the sun (summertime balkongmys), with your favorite beverage and a good friend or family member. Or by yourself with a book or magazine. When you sit down in that chair, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, look out at the view and let out a deep contented sigh, your balkongmys has begun.
You can of course also engage in balkongmys during other seasons, the mysighet just needs to be adjusted for the season.
You can also add “mys” to the beginning of a word, as in
This describes the exact same thing as Fredagsmys, except it can be any night of the week (kväll = evening)
Cozy, warm and soft slippers (tofflor = slippers)
A fika (coffee break) is a perfect time for getting mysig. Especially in the colder months. Picture this: you and a friend are out shopping on a bleak winter afternoon and decide to stop for fika. You walk in from the freezing cold to a small café with old worn wood floors, mismatched comfortable chairs, candle lit tables, and a fire going in an old stone fireplace. You walk up to the counter, order large lattes, and sit down with steaming cups of the best coffee ever. Could it get any mysigare (= more cozy)? A true mys-fika.
Mysig Interior Design
When it comes to your home, you of course want it to be mysigt, meaning, warm, welcoming, comfortable, relaxing. A place where you can escape the everyday hustle and bustle and recharge. Swedish decorating magazines are filled with ideas for how to increase the mysighet of your home:
Mysa is not just for humans. Our pets shouldn’t be left out of the mysighet.
Mysighet In Different Seasons
In the colder months, mysighet involves anything warm, cozy, cuddly, snug, candlelit, comfortable. Think cocooning. Höstmys (fall coziness) is huge. After a (hopefully) long, hot summer, cooler temperatures and darker evenings are just the thing for cozying up with a hot beverage in candle lit cafes and restaurants, wrapped in a blanket, or changing your home decor to make it more mysigt.
A mysig summer evening on the other hand often involves taking advantage of the 20+ hours of daylight and rare warm nights. A several hours long dinner outside with a group of friends on the dock of your summer house while the warmth lingers and nobody wants to leave would most definitely be a mysig summer evening.
You can also spend a mysig day or evening on the beach (“strand”) = strandmys. An evening beach party with a bonfire is perfect summertime strandmys.
The Most Mysigaste Time of the Year
The mysigaste (coziest) time of the year though is without a doubt December. It’s dark and cold out, but oh, inside! Everywhere you go are warm drinks (coffee, tea, glogg, toddies), lit candles, fires, heat turned up to max, glogg parties, and special holidays. There is Advent with advent candles in every window and hanging lighted paper or straw stars; St. Lucia on December 13 with even more candles, Luciatåg (candle-lit processions) and special foods; and it is all leading up to the ultimate in mysighet (coziness): Jul (Christmas). The entire month is an indulgence in Julmys.
Want to know more about Sweden? Check out my Swedish travel posts