A honeymoon is a time right after the marriage of two people when the couple goes on a vacation of sorts. Most people know this. Have you ever wondered why this period of time was called a “honeymoon”?
We owe the tradition and the word to people who lived in Mesopotamia, in an area we now know as Iraq, about 4,000 years ago. Today, we call those people the Babylonians. It seems that these people had a tradition whereby immediately after a wedding and for a period of one lunar month, the father of the bride furnished his new son-in-law with all the honey-beer the son-in-law could drink.
Not surprisingly, this lunar month was known as the ‘honey month’. In the mid-1500s, ‘honey month’ was changed to ‘honeymoon’, which actually keeps the original meaning of a full cycle of the moon.
It sounds like a perfectly good tradition. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, over the past 4,000 years, the honey-beer was dispensed with. So now we are left with a measly old vacation of sorts and the groom generally pays for it.
For that matter, honeymoons seldom last a month anymore. Anyway, that is where the word came from. For now, we’ll ignore the possible philosophical debate about whether we should go back to simpler times. It does go to show, though, that the ancient Babylonians did have some good ideas.