Surviving winter in Copenhagen as a first timer is no joke! And the task gets daunting if you are accustomed to a warmer climate. Getting through a Danish winter means surviving more than four months of temperatures often sinking below zero, endless weeks without sunshine, long nights with daylight lasting for just eight hours, icy winds literally biting into your skin and rain or snowfall as icing on the cake. In short, you need more than vitamin D supplements to survive the long Danish winter.
Through my own experience in Copenhagen, I have found some truth in the famous Danish saying ’There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’. It is important to wear warm clothes in layers and keep a pair of gloves, cap and a rain jacket. With proper clothing, you can venture out fearlessly to immerse yourself in the Danish culture on Cultural Night, and visit museums and palaces. Around Christmas, city markets light up and the air is infused with an aroma of cinnamon. Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen is a must visit around this time.
However, the weather is not always benign. Cold, snowy days in January and February can be a good excuse to spend some extra time in bed and cozy up with your family and friends by taking inspiration from ‘hygge’, an age-old tradition which also makes Danes one of the happiest people on earth. Hygge encompasses everything from ‘the art of creating intimacy’, ‘coziness of the soul’, to ‘taking pleasure in the presence of soothing things’ and ‘cocoa by candlelight’. It is a state of mind created with a warm and comfortable space for indoor relaxation, alone or with friends and family. Candles, along-with food and drinks, are an important part of hygge designed create a warm and cozy atmosphere. For me, hygge is about enjoyment and finding comfort in the simple things in life in the company of family, friends or even pets. One could always invite friends over for lunch or dinner and prepare a meal together while sipping hot tea, mulled wine or gløgg.
So rather than perceiving the long winter in Copenhagen as a challenge that we have to survive, we can warm ourselves up with hygge, food, drinks, and festivals, to thrive in the cold and dark Danish winter.
Ankit comes from Uttar Pradesh in India and has studied subject as diverse as engineering, management, economics, psychology, sociology, and spirituality.