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Why Do Newly Married People Go On Honeymoons?

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.

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  1. In this day and age with all the expenses, it would do good to go back to the old traditions. Since newly married couples usually do not have big bank accounts I think a new great tradition would be say, 2 weeks for the couple alone perhaps even at their new home and the father-in-law provides them with honey beer or some of their favorite beverages for cocktails saving them all a great big bundle of money.

    • It was because of expenses that my wife and I never did have a real honeymoon. The closest we came to it was a month after we got married when we spent a week out in deer hunting camp. It was the first time Ella had ever been camping and she loved it, so it worked out, but we never could afford to go somewhere fancy.

      • In my first marriage, we always had money problems. We married at the beginning of December and went to Montauk Point where most people spend summer vacation but at that time of the year, it is very cheap. You do get a fireplace in your cabin. I wound up with the flu so I knew this marriage was not going to last.

        • Being sick would really be the pits. It is hard to enjoy anything when you have the flu.

          We’ve never had a real honeymoon, never took more than a week vacation, and nearly always, when we take a vacation, it is to go out camping. That is something we both love. Now that I’m retired, we’ll have extra time for things like that, but now I can’t do half the stuff I could do 40 years ago. lol

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