The Origin of Honeymoons

I was perusing my copy of An Uncommon History of Common Things and I stumbled upon the entry for honeymoons. As usual for these topics, it has quite a history.

The term goes back to 1546, when “getting away from it all” had an entirely different connotation. In ancient Norse, a hjunottsmanathr was when a groom took an abducted bride into hiding. Eventually her family would give up looking for her and the “groom” could take her to live with his tribe. While in hiding, the bride and groom each would be given a daily cup of honey wine known as mead.  Thirty days of mead became a “honeymoon.”  Plus, the more relaxed they became, the greater the chance of a pregnancy to seal the union.

After the Renaissance, “honeymoon” periods became a way to allow a newly married (and supposedly chaste) couple time to become more intimately acquainted without the usual social obligations.

The idea of a honeymoon as a vacation came from 19th-century Victorian England when transportation advances brought on by the Industrial Revolution made it easier and  exciting to explore more-exotic destinations.

Of course, today there are a multiplicity of options, perhaps even taking other family members along.  Perhaps.


An Uncommon History of Common Things, National Geographic Society, 2009,  p. 82

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