Soothing natural rituals from around the world


23rd May 2020 Life

Soothing natural rituals from around the world

If you want to get outside in the coming weeks, but don’t know where to start, consider taking your inspiration from another culture, and grounding yourself with the help of a nature-themed ritual.

As people across the UK are beginning to embrace the outdoors again with a newfound appreciation for all things external to their own homes, it seems an appropriate time to celebrate nature and encourage everyone across Great Britain to make the most of being outside (as long as it’s at an appropriate distance to others).

To help all of us to make the most of nature again, the cultural and linguistic experts at leading language app Babbel have pulled together a list of rituals and words from around the world that celebrate nature, and the pleasure we can get out of connecting with planet earth.


Meriggiare (Italy)

The Italian word for resting at noon, preferably in a shady spot away from the sun. This word is a nod to the sweet relief we all feel when we find a cool place to rest on a bright, hot day. The pleasure of a snooze in warm weather is something we can all relate to and aspire to work into our day-to-day lives.


森林浴 (shinrin-yoku) (Japan)

Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing,” is the act of spending time in the woods to soak up its natural medicine.

A substantial body of research confirms that time spent in nature reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, boosts the immune system, and improves mental health and focus—time to head for the trees and reap all of the benefits.


Mångata (Sweden)

This is a not-quite-translatable word from Sweden that refers to the shape the moonlight makes when it’s reflected on the water: a long, undulating, wavy stream.

The word mångata literally translates to “moon road”—something for the night owls among us to follow if they want a late-night nature fix.


L’heure entre chien et loup (France)

This is the french term for twilight, which translates to "the hour between the dog and the wolf".

The phrase refers to twilight being the liminal phase between day and night, or light and darkness. L’heure entre chien et loup is the time when things begin to change from familiar to intimidating—perhaps an ideal hour to move back inside, having enjoyed the brightest hours of the day.


Utepils (Norway)

This word is Norweigan and has several different meanings within the Scandinavian culture. Typically, the word is used to refer to the act of sitting outside in the sun and enjoying a drink—preferably a beer. It can also be used to describe the first beer drunk outside on a warm sunny day, as the weather changes.

The word literally means "outdoor lager", which is something many of us can relate to and enjoy now that summer is here. Garden, park or balcony—it doesn’t really matter as long as you can feel the sun and fresh air on your skin. Don’t forget your sunscreen!


Waldeinsamkeit (Germany)

This German word is made up of two parts: "wald", which means forest, and "einsamkeit", which means loneliness or solitude. The word is supposed to describe the feeling that a person gets whilst alone in the woods or a sense of peace that can be achieved through feeling at one with nature.

If you have an outdoor space nearby with plenty of trees, it may be time to head there on your own and try to connect with the natural world.


Merak (Serbia)

Merak is a word for the feeling of bliss that we can all achieve through indulging in simple pleasures (which includes being outside or taking a stroll in the sun).

Merak is the feeling of connectedness we get to the universe through the most simple of pleasures—or the pursuit of small, daily pleasures to achieve a sense of happiness or fulfilment.

Whether it’s a gentle walk in the park or just a bit of sunbathing, Merak is luckily easy to achieve—just head outdoors and follow whatever marks you happy.


Madrugada (Spain)

Madrugada is a Spanish word used to mark the time between midnight and dawn. It refers to the moment at dawn where things begin to brighten, or the moment when the night greets the day.

It’s a hopeful phrase used to welcome the new day and all of its possibilities: the perfect time to get outside and reflect on what we want out of the day ahead of us.


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