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Tannin Boy
09-06-2010, 07:19 AM
I was reading a forward email which I just usually delete?
Thought you all might enjoy this...

"It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey wine and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon."

Dan McFeeley
09-06-2010, 08:46 PM
It's an interesting story, but unfortunately it's one of those things that gets circulated around but has no basis. Beer was the staff of life in the Near East, mead may have been made but it was rare.

Some years back I attended a session on ancient brewing in the Near East at the Oriental Institute in Chicago and ran that question by the instructor. She was a Ph.D. canidate, could read a number of the ancient languages on the artifacts on display at the Oriental Institute, said she'd never heard of it.

The honeymoon story seems to have started with Hilda Ransome's book 'The Sacred Bee,' in one of her notes. Robert Gayre used The Sacred Bee a great deal as part of his own history of mead in Wassail! In Mazers of Mead, published in 1948 and re-issued by the AHA, and also made reference to the story.

If you have access to an Oxford English Dictionary at a local library, try looking up "honeymoon." You'll see there's no basis to the story.

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Medsen Fey
09-07-2010, 10:24 AM
It is interesting to watch the development of a new myth during the age of information. One (or two) person(s) prints something, and it get picked up and repeated endlessly in cyberspace. Of course the positive marketing potential of this myth may account for part of its popularity.

However, the association with honey and the moon is very old. I was reading some of "The Honey-Makers (http://www.archive.org/details/honeymakers00morlgoog)" by Margaret Warner Morley published in 1899. She included extensive information on bee myths/legends (along with some good mead history and legend). Some of the oldest legends regarding honey and the moon are Hindu.


The" Vedas," the oldest literature of India, concerning themselves with the great forces of nature, and drawing their imagery mainly from the phenomena of the sky, are full of allusions to honey and the bee, which play their parts in the stately drama of men and gods... Honey, in the "Vedas," is intimately connected with the symbolism of the sun and the moon, but particularly of the moon.




Page 231

The great god of gods Vishnu himself is represented at times as a bee lying in the heart of a lotus flower. Vishnu is the god of the sun and the moon, and these also are symbolized by the bee, which, as the dispenser of honey, represents the moon ; as the appropriator of honey, the sun. Honey is supposed to come from the moon, and is very frequently mentioned in connection with it in the old Hindu poems.



Page 232

The word madhukara means both bee and lover, and also means the moon.



Ancient Greeks also has some association between moon and honey. page 269.

The bee was sacred to the Greek Artemis, known in Italy as Diana, and who also was symbolical of the creative power, presiding over births, and receiving offerings of honey. Diana was the goddess of the moon as well, and Porphyry tells us :



—" The moon, likewise, who presides over generation, was called by the ancients a bee."

The souls of the dead were supposed to come down from the moon upon the earth in the forms of bees, reminding us of the ancient Hindu faith concerning honey, the bee, and the moon.


The transmigration of the souls of the deserving into the bodies of bees was a Greek, as well as a Hindu myth,

The author discounts any relationship between the Hindu association and our "honeymoon."

The relation between bees and love in the modern world is, like the bees in the Hindu myths, connected with the moon, though it is probable the present "honeymoon" bears no relation to the Hindu satellite and its myths.


With all this underpinning, and the association in many cultures between bees and fertility, I wonder if there may be more significance to the term "honeymoon" than just the notion that love's passion goes through a waxing and waning cycle.

Tannin Boy
09-07-2010, 05:13 PM
It doesn't surprise me a bit...
Alas, it was a lovely tale...

skunkboy
09-07-2010, 10:11 PM
It is probably up there with the supposed Benjamin Franklin quote of "Beer is proof that God loves us..."

triarchy
09-07-2010, 10:43 PM
I wonder if there may be more significance to the term "honeymoon" than just the notion that love's passion goes through a waxing and waning cycle.

And for a less philosophical (and more cynical) take. I always thought it was a given that if you feed a sexually repressed couple a bunch of sweet tasting alcohol and give them a month to just get drunk and shag free of guilt, getting pregnant would be the norm. The key to fertility indeed :o