There’s a new hygge in town. Meet cosagach, the cozy trend hailing from Scotland, which is popping up everywhere this New Year. It’s pronounced: coze-sag-och, and it’ll probably take us the length of the trend to learn to say it right. For anybody out there who’s still practicing ‘hoo-guh’ everytime they read ‘hygge’, I feel you! But is cosagach just the Scottish answer to hygge’s call? Or does it have elements all its own, that will take our enjoyment of wintertime to all-new levels? Read on to learn more about this new movement, and what makes it special.
The word comes from Gaelic, conjuring the feeling of being warm, cozy, and sheltered. Esquire mentions that “ironically, native Gaelic speakers have pointed out that “còsagach” better translates to wet moss instead of coziness”… Much like with hygge, there doesn’t seem to be a good English equivalent!
Scotland is home to harsh winters and gasp-worthy vistas, and its weather and landscape has been written about by some of the world’s greatest poets for hundreds of years.
Around me scowls a wintry sky,
Blasting each bud of hope and joy;
And shelter, shade, nor home have I;
Save in these arms of thine, Love.
O wert thou, Love, but near me!
But near, near, near me,
How kindly thou wouldst cheer me,
And mingle sighs with mine, Love.
As Mr. Burns suggests, after a long day of adventuring, one must take shelter where one can. In his case, ideally, in the arms of a loved one! But cosagach is also for cherishing alone time, or drawing together in fellowship.
Especially if you’ve donned some cozy gear.
InStyle offers this helpful reframing for the winter season: “With the weather less than pleasant, a lot of people consider this season too gloomy to enjoy, but if you look at it from a different angle, it is actually the best time of the year to unwind and recharge—and that is ultimately at the heart of còsagach.”
In that spirit, pull up a seat near the fire, bundle up with your newly-knit afghans and socks and sweaters, and grab a glass of something warm. There’s the same emphasis on comfort, connection and community, but the difference between hygge and cosagach might be what you’ve done before finding your perfect spot indoors.
Cosagach has more of an appreciation for nature, even at its wildest. It has a deeper sense of the outdoors you’ve conquered, and are now escaping, while still appreciating it from your inside-view. Whether you brave the wild outdoors to face your workday, or especially if you’re off on a rugged adventure, cosagach is the return home after your journey. It’s the much-needed warmth & rest after a day of striving against the odds. While hygge seems to celebrate the cozy above all, cosagach holds the wisdom that you can’t truly appreciate one until you’ve known the other. Bramble through wind and weather, to arrive home worthy of a warm welcome.
As our infatuation with what’s most cozy carries on, is it possible we’re evading worthwhile challenges by escaping into chunky woolen dreams? When stress seems to be at an all-time high, are we simply disregarding the need to truly cope with our issues, and embracing ignorant bliss? The Guardian warns that “bliss isn’t everything,” and we’d tend to agree. But while we can certainly notice our stressors, and consider adequate responses (whether that means lifestyle changes, or speaking our mind about a challenging situation), self-care has been long-neglected, which might explain our fascination. If our vision of success has always included more – more work, more possessions, more experiences – it can be powerful to say “right now, I need less.”
Cosagach seems to strike a balance we didn’t find with hygge, and we’re smitten with this fresh interpretation of the cozy trend. In that spirit, there’s always time to take care of ourselves in this busy life, and slowing down is an important skill. Until the next buzzword comes along to describe this much-needed practice, we’ll be content with cosagach. Whether alone or in good company, savoring the moment will never go out of style.