Tangled Web

Deceptions of a transgender guy

Aba Daba Honeymoon

Honeymoon

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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.

1974 MGB roadster gunmetal silver

1974 MGB roadster gunmetal silver – ahh!

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.

Silver tea set

Hmmm… not so homely!

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 🙂 )

Medieval mead

Medieval mead

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.

Bread and water

“Bread and Water” by Steve Lyon-Bowes

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.

Dance of death

The dance of death: the honeymoon. Coloured aquatint by T. Rowlandson, 1816. Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only. Licence CC by 4.0. Credit: Wellcome Library, London

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Author: Kris

Hi! I'm Kris. I live in South Africa with my life partner of 27+ years, whom I call B or Madam in my posts. We have a Pug dog child, Remi, also known as Pooch, who has graced and enriched our lives for the past 12 years.

17 thoughts on “Honeymoon

  1. Congrats! Have tons of fun, no matter what you do!

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  2. Congrats on your 25 years! And hope you have many more fun getaways. I liked the linguistic info 🙂

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    • Thank you! The getaways depend on finances, so the more dry bread we eat, the more we can get away 🙂 Only problem is the weight gain from eating all that bread 😦 Words have always been one of my biggest passions. Take care.

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  3. 25 years – wow, major congratulations to you both! 🙂 I hope your vacation is everything you want it to be and more. My wife and I will be married three years at the end of this month. The time has flown by.

    Wishing you both many more happy years together. x

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  4. Congratulations to you both! Safe travels. Cheers.

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  5. Congrats and enjoy your trip! 25 years is a good long time and definitely something worth celebrating.

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  6. I’m still trying to get Donna to “go legal” for financial/tax purposes if nothing else. We still abide by the DIY rules that we gradually adopted as we figured out that “this was it” and that we were more or less together permanently. We never had a ceremony, just a moving in party (24 years ago). But we’ve been lucky to travel a lot, and to have made it this far, against all odds.
    Twenty-five years together is a long time, another life, but it is wonderful to have someone who really knows you and what you have been through/are going through and loves you either because of it or despite it. Enjoy it.

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    • Thanks, Jamie. So many ‘same sex’ couples find after passing on of one partner, that family deny the relationship and demand the estate. We got legal advice and made it legal as far as we could.

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  7. Kysna looks really beautiful. Actually, much of South Africa does. Vacations are hard to come by, so have a good time.

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    • Yes, it is a beautiful town and one of our favourite destinations. We will just miss pooch, but a vacation with an elderly, overweight Pug is not an option. Had she been a chihuahua, I could have carried her when she gets tired, but 13 kg gets VERY heavy! Thanks for the wishes!

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  8. Enjoy your white bread, and congratulations on your anniversary. It’s strange, to me at least, this business of being legal. My partner and I became civil partners, after being happily unacknowledged (by the state, at least) partners for decades, and it was for practical reasons, not romantic ones. I’ve never thought marriage was particularly romantic. But recognition is practical, especially as we get older and consider the possibility of one of us being ill and the other one needing to be able to come roaring in and make decisions. Starry-eyed romantics, that’s us. Still, I’m grateful for (awed by, sometimes) the change in thought and attitude and atmosphere that’s allowed all this partnering and marrying to happen.

    Best wishes!

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    • Thanks, Ellen. The main reason why we made it legal through the civil union law, was for practical reasons – financial security for the one who lives longest. You never know when a relative contests the will, claiming we were never legally partners. (Did you see “If these walls could talk 2”? The Vanessa Redgrave character ended up with a broken heart and no acknowledgement of her and her partner’s relationship or the house they lived in. Fiction, but it happens.
      Thanks again!

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