MEAD and Weddings
The term “honeymoon” has been associated with drinking mead during the month long celebration following a wedding in pagan times.
The phrase “Honeymoon” did not evolve from a term of endearment of a description of an event. It refers specifically to what the bride and groom did for one full moon after their wedding.
If not for some monks in the Middle Ages, none of us would refer to the post-matrimonial period as a “Honeymoon”. Mead’s popularity soon proved that it could make even people who were well, feel even better. Not to say that weddings would have been altered if Mead were not invented. It’s more that the nature and quality of the celebration following the wedding would have been affected as the honey-based drink was the origin of the term “honeymoon”.
Even since the fame of Mead spread throughout medieval Europe, it was believed that mead was essential for sending off the bride and groom after the wedding. It was used both as a final toast and as a proper beginning of the marriage. Following the wedding, the Bride & Groom were provided with enough Mead to toast each other for one month after their wedding, hence the term “honeymoon”. Honey refers to mead or honey wine, moon refers to one cycle of the moon (one month).
This delicate, yet potent drink was not only considered the best way to start a new marriage, it was also believed to enhance such valued qualities as fertility and virility. On numerous occasions the groom laced with generous amounts of Mead, was carried by his friends to the bedside of his bride. If nine months later, a bouncing baby appeared, credit was given to the Mead.
References have been found on Mead as early as the 5th century and it was in wide use by the Middle Ages. So it seems that the “Honeymoon” tradition may be even older than our contemporary wedding traditions. According to tradition, when it’s time to bring festivities to a close, the wedding party gathers around the bride and groom. All fill their glasses with Mead and toast to a happy life.