hist-brewing: Honeymoon Tradition?

Dan McFeeley mcfeeley at keynet.net
Sat Jan 1 15:47:27 PST 2000

We've been having a discussion on and off over at the Mead Lovers Digest
on the tradition of a 30 day's supply of mead for a newly wed couple as
the origin of the honeymoon.  I've found lots of references to the use
of mead in feasting and celebration, but no historical documentation
of this particular custom.  

Would anyone on this list know anything about this idea, or custom?
Where or how it originated?  

Eva Crane does have this to say in _A Book on Honey_ (N.Y., Oxford University
Press, 1980):

   In marriage ceremonies, the use of honey occurs constantly in
   the entire Indo-European region and among many peoples outside
   it.  Honey seems to have been a symbol of the sweetness of love
   in prehistoric times, as in every age since, and the poetry of 
   people all over the world compares the sweetness of love with
   honey.  (The ancient Indian god of love, Kama, carred a bow 
   whose string was made of a chain of bees.)

   The word 'honeymoon,' however, probably carries no more significance
   than that the first month of mariage is the sweetest; it does not
   refer to a month-long feasting on honey.  In the marriage ceremony
   itself honey was, and is, used variously as a gift, for eating, for
   drinking as mead, and for annointing and smearing on the lintel and
   door posts of the new home.          (p. 132)

What do you think?  Is Eva Crane right?

Dan McFeeley
mcfeeley at keynet.net

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