The Origins of the Honeymoon Ritual

The Honeymoon originated before the wedding

Miriam-Webster defines honeymoon as “a period of harmony immediately the following marriage“. However, in the beginning, the honeymoon existed long before the marriage ceremony came into being.

The first recorded appearance of the term honeymoon came in 1546 – but the ritual goes back much further. In earliest days, the man simply abducted the woman of his choice and took her into hiding. It lasted at least as long as it took for her angry relatives to stop searching for her. Usually, this was about one month, as marked by the phases of the moon. Thus the “moon” in honeymoon.

While in hiding, the couple would partake of mead – a wine made of water and old honey. According to Pliny the Elder, it consisted of “one part of old honey” and “three parts of water”. The mixture was then left in the sun for forty days, though, according to Pliny, some left it to ferment only nine days. Pliny went on to say, “with age it attains the flavour of wine”. As time passed, people believed it that, if the couple drank mead daily during the honeymoon, they get assured of the birth of sons. One has to wonder how much mead Henry VIII would have drunk! Anyway, the mead provided the “honey” part of the honeymoon.

Symbolism of the Honeymoon

The term honeymoon is packed with symbolism. The mead, or honey wine, is sweet and symbolizes the particular sweetness of the first month of marriage. It is a time free of the stresses and tensions everyday life puts on the relationship as time goes on. The moon symbolizes the phases or cycles of the couple’s relationship as it waxes and wanes from full moon to full moon. Like the moon, the couple’s relationship would have its brighter moments and its darker ones. The one-month period was considered associated with the woman’s menstrual cycle, and thus, fertility, being tied in with the moon cycle.

Of course, the notion of hiding away during their honeymoon has led to the present practice of couples keeping their plans secret. Though the reason has changed, no longer is it fear of physical violence, in most cases anyway, but instead, to keep nosy relatives and friends from invading the couple’s privacy.

Add a touch of tradition to your Honeymoon

So, on your honeymoon have a sweet time hiding away and gazing at the moon together. If you want some mead to go along with it, you can find a recipe at

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