|Origin of the Honeymoon Tradition
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Today, the tradition of a honeymoon following nuptials has, long way from
its original meaning. Today's "happy ending" to the wedding event is a far cry from its much different beginnings. The word honeymoon has its
roots in the Norse word "hjunottsmanathr" which was anything but blissful.
Northern European history describes the abduction of a bride from a neighboring village. It was imperative, that the abductor, the
husband-to-be, takes his bride to be into hiding for period of time. His friends assured his and her safe keeping and
kept their whereabouts unknown. Once the bride's family gave up their search, the bride groom returned to his people. This folkloric explanation
presumably is the origin of today's honeymoon, for its original meaning meant hiding.
The Scandinavian word for honeymoon is derived, in part, from an ancient Northern European custom in which newlyweds, for the first month of their
married life, drank a daily cup of honeyed wine called mead. The ancient practices of kidnaping the bride and drinking the honeyed wine date back to
the history of Atilla, king of the Asiatic Huns from A.D. 433 to A.D. 453.
So that leaves us with the question of where the "moon" in the word "honeymoon" originates. One piece of folklore relates that the origin of
the word moon comes from a cynical inference. To the Northern Europeans the terms referred to the body's monthly cycle and, its combination with
honey, suggested that not all "moons" of married life were as sweet as the first. British prose writers and poets, in the 16th and 17th centuries,
often made use of the Nordic interpretation of honeymoon as a waxing and waning of marital affection.
As it is with many of our wedding customs, this one also has an alternative explanation of its origin. The term "honeymoon," we are told, comes from
an old northern European custom in which newlyweds would, for a month, consume a daily cup of mead, a brew that is made from honey.
Certainly we have, long way and there is a vast difference between the original meaning of honeymoon and its present-day connotation. The newer
version is, of course, the more pleasant one!
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