We are going on honeymoon end September to celebrate our silver anniversary. So what if the honeymoon is 25 years late? When B moved in with me all those years ago, we were both confused and seeking. Many years later, when I did ask her to “marry” me, it was not legal. And when it did become legal, the ‘ceremony’ about which I wrote in an earlier post, was so bureaucratic and clinical, it was a mere formality. So we decided to celebrate a 2-in-1: the honeymoon and anniversary (honeyversary?), with a four day long vacation, also visiting the charming little church in Belvedere in which I asked her to marry me (yes, I am hopelessly romantic).
Both the traditional and modern gifts for a 25th anniversary, are silver.
Now, I wouldn’t mind a silver MG and B would probably wish for something more homely in pure silver (I’m not going to ask, she might just think I am offering to buy!), but those definitely are not options. Okay, I’ll confess! She did get a silver ring. Sucker. Me.
The vacation (and ring) is already eating into our savings, so on the whole we will both have to be satisfied with four days of rest and uhm… recreation in one of the most beautiful areas of our country – Knysna and The Garden Route.
Thinking about this post, got me wondering about the origins of the word “Honeymoon” – I had been a linguistics major after all!
The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the etymology as from “the idea that the first month of marriage is the sweetest” (Dated 1546). Pardon me for snorting, our first month together was anything but sweet! Confusing, yes.
The Oxford English Dictionary has a more recent entry, indicating that while today honeymoon has a positive meaning, the word was originally a reference to the inevitable waning of love like a phase of the moon. (Richard Huloet’s Abecedarium Anglico Latinum, 1552, if you insist on reading it in the original. Sorry, no e-book 🙂 )
The term is also ascribed to an old English Middle Ages tradition. A lot of mead, (an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water) was drunk at weddings, and after the ceremony the wedding couple was given a month’s supply of mead — sufficient for one full cycle of the moon. Mead was considered to have aphrodisiac properties and it was believed to have enhanced the fertility of the wedded couple.
There are many words of similar meaning in other languages, translating as either ‘honey moon’ or ‘honey month’. The German word “flitterwochen,” much less boring, is probably from Old High German “flitarezzen,” to flatter or caress (we can all use our imaginations here!).
The Norse word “hjunottsmanathr”, means “in hiding“. The Scandinavian grooms apparently abducted their brides from local villages, kept them in hiding until they were pregnant, or until the bride’s family stopped searching, and then bringing them out of hiding. With an, “Oops – look what happened?!”
In Turkish, the words for ‘moon‘ and ‘month‘ (ay) are the same. Higher class, old style weddings, lasted anywhere from a month to 40 days. The terms in Turkish for “doing well,” either financially or in other aspects of life such as love life, apparently are, “one hand in butter (butter pot) and the other in honey (cup of honey).” The first month following a marriage, was a month which lacked any sort of worries with everything as sweet as honey.
In Afrikaans we speak of “Wittebrood,” literally meaning “white bread.” It probably derives from the Dutch, where the opposite would be “black bread” (rye bread), white bread having being considered a delicacy to be consumed while or after having fun. While drinking mead, I wonder? 🙂
How apt. After our expensive honeymoon vacation, we’re gonna be eating only dry brown bread washed down with water. No butter, no honey. No mead. Send donations, please! 🙂
PS. Pooch is staying home with her adopted grandmother. We are already missing her and the vacation is only coming up.