After months of hard work planning your perfect wedding, you'll be ready to relax and go on the best holidays of your life. Before you finish picking your bridal bouquet and wedding dress, hopefully you've already started planning your honeymoon.
There are a number of stories regarding the origins of "honeymoon". One of the widely accepted stories is that the term, honeymoon, was invented by the ancient Norse in the sixteenth century. It is said they would give newlyweds a moons worth of honey-wine, or sweet mead.
The bride and groom drank mead to receive the blessing from the gods who gave the couple fertility with the primary goal of allowing them to have children, namely sons. In Norse mythology it is said that Odin, father of all gods, drank mead as a baby and they attribute his supernatural strength to the mead. So it was believed to be a magic potion, which the druids also offered to the Celtic Vikings before facing the Romans in ancient Gaul.
Babylon and Rome
In Babylon over 3,500 years ago it was customary that after the marriage the father of the bride gave the groom honey beer for a whole moon cycle or a month to give the couple good fortune and fertility. In Rome it was the mother of the bride who would leave a jar of honey in the couple's room for about one month, for the same reasons. Honey represented fertility and was also used as a "restorative" physical and beauty ointment for the bride.
On the full moon
According to German mythology, in the middle ages weddings were usually held on full moon nights and couples drank honey liquor for thirty days after the marriage in order to receive good fortune, happiness and to produce offspring. This was essentially the couple's "honey moon".
This ancient tradition was also called marriage by capture or marriage by abduction. The barbarian peoples, who lived on the borders of the Roman Empire, used to kidnap enemy slaves or youths from nearby villages and then either claim a ransom or marry them off.
These kidnappings were carried out with the help of a group of men, one of whom was given the title of best man, and the kidnapping lead to a wedding celebration. The "best man" kept watch during the wedding ceremony, keeping alert and armed in case of an attack by the family of the bride. After a short period of time the couple returned to the bride's village and the union was no longer questioned.
The beginning of the modern honeymoon dates back to nineteenth century in bourgeois England. At that time the couple took advantage of the post-wedding trip to introduce themselves to relatives who couldn't make it to the wedding. Until the marriage, the couple was never allowed to be alone together. So, this was the time when they started living together and spent these first weeks getting to know each other and settling into married life. This was their chance to finally be alone and enjoy each other's company more intimately.
This tradition quickly spread to other countries in Europe in the twentieth century. Many couples chose to travel outside their country thanks to the great advances in transportation, especially after the emergence of television. The trip the couple made to visit distant family turned into a pleasure trip only for the newlyweds, alone.
The Vatican also accepted this tradition, since honey was considered an imperishable food that becomes much sweeter over time - the perfect metaphor for the perfect Christian marriage. For Catholics, honey also symbolises good omens, sweetness and eternal love.
Now that you know a bit more about the origin of honeymoon, maybe you can enjoy it even more, by appreciating its complicated and rocky history. It's time to think about what you'll pack, how you'll stay safe on your honeymoon, and imagine all the fun activities you'll do and the sites you'll see.