Tuesday, September 20, 2011

History of the Honeymoon

Two of my very good friends just got back from their honeymoons this weekend and aside from my incredible jealousy (one friend went Spain & the Canary Islands and the other one went to Greece), it got me wondering when & where this awesome tradition started. 

The first reference to a honeymoon period is in the Bible, in Deuteronomy 24:5 “When a man is newly wed, he need not go out on a military expedition, nor shall any public duty be imposed on him. He shall be exempt for one year for the sake of his family, to bring joy to the wife he has married.”(Source)  This reference seems to signify that the period of time right after marriage that was reserved for the couple to strengthen their new bond without distractions.  Another theory of origin is the Scandinavian custom in which "newlyweds, for the first month of their married life, drank a daily cup of honeyed wine called mead. This ancient practice date back to the history of Attila, king of the Asiatic Huns from A.D. 433 to A.D. 453" (Source).

Fast forward to the early 19th century when British upper-class couples started to make a trip after the wedding to visit the relatives who had not been able to attend, a tradition that originated in India.  This transitioned into today's honeymoon (a couple-only vacation) after World War I, when the opportunity for middle and lower-class couples opened as mass travel became affordable and acceptable (Source).  The most popular destinations were Italy and France which marked one of the first booms of modern mass tourism (Source). 

Today's couples are not limited to Europe but travel all over the world usually to a special location where they wouldn't normally vacation to mark the huge occassion.  The typical honeymoon is one to two weeks for the couple to spend time sightseeing, relaxing and enjoying some much needed down time after intense wedding planning.  Traditionally the groom's parents pay for the honeymoon but like most areas in modern wedding planning, that is not set in stone.  The newest trend is to wait to go on a honeymoon, which is becoming more and more popular.  Many couples take a lot of vacation days off work close to their wedding and then they need to wait to build up more vacation time.  Whatever you decide to do for your honeymoon, make sure it is enough time to take a break from your day to day life and come back refreshed!


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