Thursday, October 29, 2009

What's a Honeymoon Anyway?

Did you ever wonder? Well I have. Sometimes, I will just see a word, and it is almost like I am seeing it for the first time. Then, this sort of obsession takes over in my mind, and I **MUST** know more about THIS.PARTICULAR.WORD. I google it, I wikipedia it, I even dictionary.com it. I gather as much information as I can until I am satisfied that I now UNDERSTAND the word completely. I know... crazy.

Anyhooters, the word I most recently went the rounds with was "Honeymoon". I wondered, what exactly IS a honeymoon? I mean... hehehe... I KNOW what a Honeymoon is... but... Well, it's just that there are Blue Moons, Full Moons, Crescent Moons, Gibbous Moons, New Moons, Half Moons, Harvest Moons, Hunters Moons, and even Paschal Moons. But I had never heard of "Honey Moons". Then again, I did pretty much suck at Science, so... hence the research. Many websites had slightly varied information, but here is the gist of it all...

Vikings were like the Pirates of Scandanavia/Norse. True, some Vikings were more explorers, but mostly these European Pirates were known for raiding colonies in the 10th-ish century. This is where the story of the Honeymoon begins... sometime PRE-16th century. A Viking (or Norceman) would kidnap a woman, to take as his wife, and runaway and hide her so the chances of her family finding her would be slim. They typically would hide from about 28-30 days, during which time they would hope to impregnate the woman. Therefore,upon returning home, the family would be ok with the marriage of their daughter to the Viking, because after all, you wouldn't want a husband to abandon his pregnant wife. That's just wrong.

During this time the viking and his newly abducted bride-t0-be would consume large quantities of Mead, which is an alcoholic beverage, made from honey and water via fermentation with yeast, and can be as mild as ale to as strong as wine. It was often referred to as "Honeywine." The drinking of this Honeywine was known to help the woman relax and perhaps even become submissive, while also helping the Viking (as they were not accustomed to being around a lady) to feel less awkward and to "loosen" him up as well.

The 28 days of keeping her in hiding was usually enough to get her pregnant, which they figured had something to do with some sort of "cycle". Hence, this 28-30 day period with their new bride came to be known as "hjunottsmanathr" or Honeymonth. Back then, the only thing they could equivocate that to was the cycle of the moon, and because a "month" was known as a "moon", the word Honeymoon finally came to be.

So, how did this thing derived from horny, kidnapper-savages & pirates turn into the beautiful post-wedding event we think of today? Well, approaching the 16th century (The Victorian Era), Vikings were more Romanticized... sort of heroes, if you will. And since history "proved" that hiding away with the bride while consuming large quantities of the wine resulted in pregnancy, it was common belief that the "Honey Wine" somehow aided in the fertility process! (I guess it didn't occur to anyone that purely getting drunk with someone for 28 days might also lead to pregnancy. Lol!)

Anyway, during this Victorian Era (When things were done "properly") parents of the bride and groom would keep them apart from each other during the entire engagement, so chances for indiscretions would be almost impossible. Then once the couple was married, the father of the bride would send the couple off for their 28 days with their Honey Wine so they could "get to know each other", and hopefully return home with announcements of grandchildren on the way!

Imagine being forbidden to see your fiance from the time of the engagement to the day of the wedding. The angst. The anticipation. And the association of the Honeymoon with Fertility (or the act thereof)? Those things are somewhat still associated with the Honeymoon as we know it today. The bride & groom "escape", often "wining & dining" with each other... Too bad Honeymoons in today's time rarely last 28 days though.

Men in the Victorian Era had it made. Your marriage is arranged. Your Future Father-in-law supplies the wedding, the vacation getaway, enough wine for a month, and the bride. What more could a guy ask for, right??? lol!

So, there you have it... a mini lesson on the Honeymoon... You're Welcome :)

10 comments:

Yaya said...

Very interesting. It does give a whole new meaning to 'honeymoon'.

Era said...

That was a great post! We never had a honeymoon, but that Victorian arrangement sounds pretty good. Except, being a woman was pretty rough in those days, not to mention they didn't have Tampax back then!

Puphigirl said...

I do not remember drinking any honey wine on my honeymoon. And, mine was only 3 days. Oh, so what is the purpose of a second honeymoon?

Alice in Wonderland said...

Sorry I missed you yesterday. Some really good questions! That's what I mean on my "Ask a Stupid Question" on Tuesdays!
I knew about the "Honeymoon" thing though. It is thought that here, where I live, there was once a huge giant of a Viking, who took a wife and actually settled here. That would explain all the blonde haired people around here!
Honeywine is still made by monks here, and mead is really potent! Ladies would drink it when it still had a lot of honey in it and before it had fermented properly.
All unrefined sugar will turn into alcohol, so ladies drank it before it turned too strong.
Very good post!

Susie said...

I get a nickle for learning something today:-)

Ruthykins said...

i think i've heard this before. i knew that moon was in place of month, but i forgot about all the viking stuff, i guess. you know, that viking story reminds me of the story of the sabine(sp?) women. i guess that sort of thing happened a lot back then.

Betty said...

I never thought about it before. Now I know. I just wish I had had one after my wedding....

Tulsi said...

I never would have known that. It really was interesting.

BlueCastle said...

My brain feels so much smarter. Thank you. :) I had no idea. Those poor Viking women. Ugh. Leave it to the Victorians to straighten things up. :)

Dianne said...

Honeymoon? After leaving the church for our wedding, we came home and i HAD TO COOK. We had frozen pizza. Talk about broke. Went to my momma's house later because she cooked a big meal. Now, that is SAD.