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Why are candles so important for Hygge?

Denmark uses more candles per capita than any other country. They are essential for Hygge, but why?

Meik Wiking calls candles “instant hygge”. Candles provide natural light, it makes us feel better than an electric light. In Danish they are called levende lys which means living light. I think this is a wonderful description & perfectly describes why they are an antidote to harsh strip lights &spot lights which are common in offices & now many homes.

The electric lights many of us use at home are not cosy. They burn too brightly or are just the wrong colour. A simple way to deal with this is candles. You really can’t have a Hyggelig evening without them. If you think they are just too dim light more. We position them in groups of 3–5 so they form pools of natural light around the living room. It is bright enough to read without burning your retinas out.

It is thought that the Danish obsession with lighting is because they don’t get much contact with the natural world in the winter months. This makes sense to me. We don’t call it the winter blues for nothing. Mood problems & winter go hand in hand but what the Danes have realised is that if you light your rooms in the right way & make the atmosphere cosy then winter becomes pleasurable.

I know it has made a big difference to me. When I met Gabby I was one of those people who spend winter abroad in search of sunshine. I dreaded the dark months but practicing Hygge has changed that & I can honestly say I enjoy winter rather than endure it. I look forward to lighting candles & getting cosy.

Number 1 on the Hygge Manifesto is atmosphere. It can change you experience of winter for the better

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