The Honeymoon

Mead Day

Aug 7

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

The Honeymoon

Mead Day celebrated today is for the ancient fermented honey drink, still enjoyed and brewed today, which is linked to  the term "honeymoon."  Believed to be the first alcoholic beverage, mead was once referred to as “the nectar of the Gods.”   Norse legends tell of the Mead of Poetry,  the mythical beverage that imbues the drinker with the wisdom of a scholar, able to recite any poem and answer any question. The drink is often associated with the god Odin, known for both his berserker rage and poetic inspiration.

The custom of a newlywed couple drinking mead during their first moon (month) of marriage dates back to at least the 5th century. 


The etymology of the word honeymoon comes from the Old English “hony moone.” Hony, a reference to honey, refers to the “indefinite period of tenderness and pleasure experienced by a newly wed couple," and how sweet the new marriage is. Moone, meanwhile, refers to the fleeting amount of time that sweetness would last. While honeymoon has a positive connotation today, it was first used as a term to warn newlyweds about waning love.

The first recorded description of the word comes from 1542, when Samuel Johnson wrote: “The first month after marriage, when there is nothing but tenderness and pleasure; originally having no reference to the period of a month, but comparing mutual affection of newly-married persons to the changing moon which is no sooner full that it begins to wane…”

See below for a video of the dance performed by pupils of Meiklemill Primary School, Ellon in September 2013. 

And for some alternative versions as to the origin of the term "honeymoon" click the painting of "The Waning Honeymoon" by G. H.  Boughton (1878).

The Honeymoon
The Honeymoon

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