Hygge in Abu Dhabi

When life starts dragging you down, round up your best mates and chill

Out of all the myriad wellness fads doing the rounds at the moment, one fills us with such warmth (an inner glow, if you will) that we feel compelled to bring it into our lives.

Hygge is a Danish concept that epitomises a convivial gathering in a cosy environment, with everyone leaving all the cares of the world at the door.

Easier said than done, right? Well, not for the Danes it would seem – they even have an adjective, hyggelig, to describe a stress-free environment everyone can enjoy with their nearest and dearest without such distractions as smartphones or laptops.

Dr Jeppe Trolle Linnet, one of Denmark’s foremost authorities on the subject, believes hygge is all about finding a safe haven – both in location and conversation.

“When Danes say that a social gathering is hyggelig, it also means that no-one will discuss opposite opinions,” he says. “Conflicts or conflicting opinions are not perceived as hyggelig. Should someone disagree on a subject and a discussion starts, you can be sure that it will be put to an end with a quick remark.”

In Denmark, the lighting of candles is a ritual essential to hygge, with Christmas seen as the ultimate hyggelig time of year. So, how can you find hygge in Abu Dhabi? Well, according to Dr Linnet, the answer could be found on top of the coals.

“Something like a barbecue, where you’re not only sharing the meal but you’re also sharing the preparation of it and the whole physical spectacle of barbecuing, of standing there and maybe having the food as an object that you can talk about, is definitely hygge,” he explains.

So, next time you throw some prawns on the barbie, make sure there are enough to go around – and you share your recipe. Just leave the gossip at the door.

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