“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” – Dr. Seuss

I imagine that today when we hear the word “honeymoon” we think of a newly wed couple soaking up sun and surf together on some isolated island, or hidden away in a resort somewhere.  We suppose they are enjoying their new marital status, far from the family and friends who celebrated with them only a few days earlier.

This tradition is relatively new. The idea of the couple going away after the wedding didn’t start until the 1800’s. And the trip wasn’t a romantic get-away for the newlyweds. Rather, it was an opportunity for the couple to visit one another’s family and friends who were unable to travel to the wedding.

The modern term “honeymoon” comes from a sixteenth century term “hony moone.” Hony, being “honey” as in a time of tenderness the couple shared for one another when their new marriage was sweet. Mead is a wine made with honey and yeast. It is the oldest known alcoholic beverage.

In ancient times it was traditional was for the bride’s father to provide as mead as the groom wanted for the first month after the wedding.  One theory was that drinking this sweet alcoholic drink would boost their fertility and chances of conception.

Several cultures have traditions about a married couple’s first month together that include some variation of honey.

Whatever the origin of the term, it is now a well entrenched tradition. Given the hectic lives we live today and the stress modern weddings can generate, indulging in time away together seems like a tradition worth keeping.

Next up: wedding traditions from around the world.


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