The Untranslatables: #1 Kalsarikänni


“A drink. At home. In your underwear. And there is a word for it. Kalsarikänni.”

This is how the website ‘this is’ happily describes the concept of ‘Kalsarikänni’, a.k.a, Päntsdrunk, the fun and slightly more accessible Finnish version of ‘Hygge’.

We all know Hygge. It’s the lovely Danish trend of snuggly cosiness that’s been sweeping through recent winters like a whimsical blizzard of patterned jumpers, photogenic hot chocolates and stylish interior design. If you’ve not lived it yourself, you’ll at least have seen it on Instagram.

Well, I am delighted to now introduce you to Hygge’s easygoing and slightly more alcoholic neighbour, Kalsarikänni: the concept of having a drink, at home, in your underwear, with absolutely no intention of going out whatsoever. And the best bit? In Finland this is seen in a positive light!

Far from equating to stereotypical, antisocial binge drinking, the idea of Päntsdrunk is to give yourself a moment of calm, cut off from the ‘real world’. According to writer Miska Rantanen:

“In Finland, Päntsdrunk is considered a path to recovery and self-empowerment to help you face your future challenges.”

Never before has drinking alone been so socially acceptable.

The original word is a compound, made up of ‘kalsari’ (underpants) and ‘känni’ (intoxication), but the more anglicised (and easily pronounceable) version, ‘Päntsdrunk’ was introduced through Rantanen’s recent book, Päntsdrunk: Kalsärikanni: The Finnish Path to Relaxation.

With even the OED blog citing Päntsdrunk as one of this Summer’s buzz words, Kalsarikänni is sure to be this Winter’s craze. So, get the log fire burning, strip down to your unmentionables, whack some Baileys in your hot chocolate and snuggle up to Päntsdrunk.

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