A current marker of social status is how fast we know about obscure European lifestyles. Hygge is out, friluftsliv is in, and any minute now another adorable way of living that’s hard for English-speakers to pronounce will make its way onto the bestseller list and into furniture catalogs.
We propose that lifestyle be Cwtch.
Cwtch (rhymes with “butch”) is not a thing, yet, but it has all the makings of the next great trend. It’s a Welsh word meaning to hug or snuggle, or a small cozy place. But according to the Welsh, it’s deeper than that, representing a feeling and state of mind that’s far bigger than its five letters. One blog describes it as the “lovely warm feeling you used to get when a special person put their arms around you, sheltering you from the world and its pressures.” Another calls it the “act of creating a small space between you and another.” The University of South Wales says it has the “magical quality of transporting someone back to the safety of their childhood,” and is part of Welsh national identity.
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According to Meri Huws, the Welsh Language Commissioner, cwtch is “the feeling that you are safe, loved and totally comfortable.” It originally meant a small corner or hiding place, and eventually morphed into its more emotional meaning. And it’s found life outside the Welsh language. “Every language has its own unique way of describing and interpreting the world around it and some of these concepts are simply untranslatable,” says Huws. “Cwtch is a beautiful example of the meeting of these two languages [English and Welsh] in Wales and a reflection of the bilingual nature of the country.”
Ok, but how to be cwtch? Huws says “cwtch” is used often in marketing campaigns to evoke coziness, which means it’s only a matter of time until Americans catch on and make it a trend…exactly like this post is attempting to do. Cwtch things are anything that make you feel cozy and snuggled, so blankets and candles of course, but also soft clothing, reading nooks, and comfy furniture. And though that sounds like Hygge, cwtch is whatever makes you feel warm and comforted. That could be cozy blankets, or it could be laying in the sun on the beach, or a night out with friends. It certainly means that your weekend spent binging GLOW surrounded by throw pillows puts you at the forefront of lifestyle trend.