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Còsagach: Get cosy this Christmas with the Scottish hygge

VisitScotland's latest trend focuses on an old Gaelic word but what exactly does it mean?

Còsagach: Coorie in, an bide a while.
Còsagach: Coorie in, an bide a while. Jack Boothby / cropped

As the winter wind whips against window and forecasts predict flurries of snow, the temptation to throw another log on the fire and hide from the elements with a good book is ever more enticing.

Nights out are swapped for short walks to the local pub wrapped in thick scarves, while lie-ins with cosy blankets are chosen over an early morning jog.

With Christmas just around the corner, a time when friends and family gather to spread joy, feast on good food and enjoy cosy evenings by the fire, the notion of hygge springs to mind.

Except now It's time to get còsagach.

Where has the idea of Còsagach come from?

VisitScotland has identified còsagach as a top trend for 2018 as part of its annual research into trends in the tourism sector.

With four million UK tourists citing relaxing as a reason they visit Scotland in 2015, the emerging trend encourages people to "coorie in, an bide a while".

Millions of UK tourists come to Scotland to relax, data has shown.
Millions of UK tourists come to Scotland to relax, data has shown. Picseli

The report says: "Scotland is a country where còsagach can be achieved in all seasons but it's winter when it comes into its own.

"It's no secret that Scotland can have, at times, rather harsh and ferocious weather.

"In the winter when the storms rage and the waves crash against the rocks, there is nothing more satisfying than being curled up in front of the fire, book and hot toddy in hand, listening to the weather outside."

With 23% of visitors explaining they visit Scotland to get away from it all, getting còsagach could become an even bigger driver of tourists in 2018.

Staying warm indoors with a good book is one way to get còsagach.
Staying warm indoors with a good book is one way to get còsagach. Michael Shannon

What does it mean?

According to VisitScotland, còsagach is based on an old Scottish word which means 'snug, sheltered and warm'.

Pronounced 'coze-sag-och', with the last syllable similar in pronunciation to 'loch', it is thought the term may rival hygge, the Danish way of cosy living made popular in the UK last year.

While there is no direct English translation of the word Hygge, 'cosy' or 'convivial' are closest.

As numerous baking bibles and books on hygge appeared on bookshelves last year, Scots fell for the way of living by embracing dim lighting, thick blankets, board games and slow cooking as a way to unwind.

Now it is hoped Scots will 'coorie doon' and embrace còsagach this winter.

https://stv.tv/news/features/1366296-how-to-embrace-hygge-the-scots-way-to-enjoy-the-danish-phenomenon/ | default

Some Gaels have said the word is not in use in modern day Gaelic and that it can also mean full of holes and crevices or spongy - much like moss.

Yet some are unsure what Gaelic word they would replace it with.

While the origins of còsagach may lie in old Scots and its 21st century revival questionable, Gaelic speakers have largely welcomed the interest in the language through VisitScotland's emerging trend.

How do you get còsagach?

To "coorie doon" and enjoy winter the còsagach way, consider dusting off your slow cooker to create safe stews and bubbling casseroles with Scottish produce.

Warming meals with family surrounded by plates of buttery mash and minted peas are certainly cosy and will evoke joy in eating well in good company.

While those who want to enjoy the trend in solitude can settle down with a tartan blanket and a good book from one of Scotland's best authors.

Settling down with a good book is encouraged.
Settling down with a good book is encouraged. Kira auf der Heide

Scotland's national drink is a great way to feel merry and cosy, especially when transformed into a warming hot toddy.

Simply mix a shot of your favourite whisky with lemon, fresh ginger and honey then pour over hot water for a soothing drink.

If you do want to brave the wintry weather whilst still feeling cosy, wrap up warm and go for a bracing stroll in a park with the promise of a nearby pub to warm up in. Sláinte.

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

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