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Hygge is big. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s probably because you were snuggled up in a cosy nest, hot chocolate in hand, the world on hold. Hygge is a Danish concept, that has no direct English translation but it is the feeling you get when you are snuggled up in a cosy nest, hot chocolate in hand - you get the picture.
While hygge was the hit of 2016, there are many other lifestyle concepts from countries around the world that could shape our 2017. From being harmonious in Hawaii to feeling genial in Germany, we’ve travelled to our favourite destinations to give you some inspiration for your 2017 New Year’s Resolutions.
Pono is a state of balance and harmony achieved by doing the right thing in terms of yourself, others, and the environment. It’s so difficult to define that the Hawaiian dictionary has 6 separate definitions with 83 potential English translations. Pono is a spiritual concept that gives rise to an ancient Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono – a ritual of reconciliation and forgiveness leading to a spiritual cleansing. 2017 is crying out for it!
If Hawaii is on your list of dream destinations – and how could it not be? - visit the Mu-Ryang-Sa Buddhist Temple in Honolulu for a sense of the inner peace that may come with pono. Afterwards, relax on the beach and allow the dreamy surroundings to bring you mental, physical and spiritual harmony.
Friluftsliv is the sense of being at one with nature. It is a Nordic philosophy that likens coming back to nature to coming home. It’s not about conquering mountains or enduring stamina-testing expeditions. No, friluftsliv is simpler, more contemplative -a walk in the forest, sitting at the edge of a lake or marvelling at the night sky. Could this simple philosophy be related to the fact the Norwegians are the second happiest people in the world, beaten only by the hygge-loving Danes.
Visit Norway and you will instantly understand friluftsliv. This outdoor landscape begs to be explored. From the dramatic and beautiful fjords, which your Celebrity Cruise ship sails into, to the mountains, forest, waterfalls and lakes once you disembark.
Wabi-sabi is about embracing the imperfect and celebrating the worn, accepting the toll that life takes on us all. It draws on the Buddhist notion of three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect. A direct translation is impossible, rooted as it is in Eastern philosophy, but a charming translation is that wabi is rustic simplicity and sabi is beauty that comes with age. The sense of appreciating simple, imperfect beauty, feels right for the times.
On a trip to Japan, wabi-sabi is perfectly illustrated in the Japanese tea ceremony at Tokyo’s teahouses. Notice that the cups and saucers may be old, unmatching and with imperfections, such as cracks and chips that have arisen over time. New, perfect and matching would be at odds with the sense of continuity and human kindness that is tied up in this ceremony.
The Finnish concept of sisu is a blend of bravery and resilience. It means having the guts to take action when the odds are against you and the grit, or resilience, to see those actions through. For Finns, it defines their national character. If you have mountains to climb in 2017, either metaphorically or literally, it’s a belief system that will serve you well.
When you visit Finland, on your Scandinavia cruise, spend some time at the Temppeliaukio Lutheran Church in Helsinki. This remarkable rock-hewn church was constructed in 1969, over 30 years after it was originally conceived. The sheer audacity of the plans – to carve a church into solid rock, and the stoic determination to complete the project is Finnish sisu in action.
Jugaad encapsulates the spirit of being innovative when resources are scarce. There is no English translation, but the phrase ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ gives a sense of its meaning. A more up to date parallel might be ‘life hack’ – a simple (but not immediately obvious) solution to a problem. Jugaad has even been adopted as a management concept to unlock creativity, getting employees to think laterally in order find low cost methods to increase productivity and efficiency.
When you stop at Mumbai on your India cruise, look out for the Dabbawalas. This network of 5,000 people delivers 200,000 meals from home to work every day. It’s an astonishing set up using only public transport or bicycles and a system of drop offs and collections. Lunch is served in a busy city thanks to jugaad!
Gemütlichkeit is akin to hygge. It is a feeling of wellbeing and good cheer that comes from being in a comfortable place, with good friends, enjoying simple pleasures. It is associated with happy times such as holidays and festivals.
Gemütlichkeit is what you will find in the bars and restaurants of Berlin on your Germany cruise. In the autumn, it’s about enjoying coffee and cakes in a cosy café and in the summer, it’s the laid-back vibe in a German beer garden with a stein of lager.
Whether you seek the grit of sisu, the creativity of jugaad or the imperfect beauty of wabi-sabi, you must, of course, do your research. And what better way than taking a Celebrity cruise to see the places and people bringing to life these qualities. This could be a very Happy New Year!
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