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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A honeymoon is the traditional holiday taken by newlyweds (or between two people in an early harmonious period in a relationship) to celebrate their marriage in intimacy and seclusion. Today, honeymoons by Westerners are sometimes celebrated somewhere exotic or otherwise considered special and romantic.

Contents

History

One early reference to a honeymoon is in Deuteronomy 24:5 “When a man is newly wed, he need not go out on a military expedition, nor shall any public duty be imposed on him. He shall be exempt for one year for the sake of his family, to bring joy to the wife he has married.”[1]

In Western culture, the custom of a newlywed couple going on a holiday together originated in early 19th century Great Britain, a concept borrowed from the Indian elite, in the Indian Subcontinent. Upper-class couples would take a "bridal tour", sometimes accompanied by friends or family, to visit relatives that had not been able to attend the wedding.[2] The practice soon spread to the European continent and was known as voyage à la façon anglaise (English-style voyage) in France from the 1820s on.

Honeymoons in the modern sense (i.e. a pure holiday voyage undertaken by the married couple) became widespread during the Belle Époque,[3] as one of the first instances of modern mass tourism. This came about in spite of initial disapproval by contemporary medical opinion (which worried about women's frail health) and by savoir vivre guidebooks (which deplored the public attention drawn to what was assumed to be the wife's sexual initiation). The most popular honeymoon destinations at the time were the French Riviera and Italy, particularly its seaside resorts and romantic cities such as Rome, Verona or Venice. Typically honeymoons would start on the night they were married, with the couple leaving midway through the reception to catch a late train or flight. However, in the 21st century, many couples will not leave until 1-3 days after the ceremony and reception in order to tie up loose ends with the reception venue and/or visit with guests from the reception.

Etymology

The Oxford English Dictionary offers no etymology, but gives examples dating back to the 16th century. The Merriam-Webster dictionary reports the etymology as from "the idea that the first month of marriage is the sweetest" (1546).

A honeymoon can also be the first moments a newly-wed couple spend together, or the first holiday they spend together to celebrate their marriage.

"The first month after marriage, when there is nothing but tenderness and pleasure" (Samuel Johnson); originally having no reference to the period of a month, but comparing the mutual affection of newly-married persons to the changing moon which is no sooner full than it begins to wane; now, usually, the holiday spent together by a newly-married couple, before settling down at home.

One of the more recent citations in the Oxford English Dictionary indicates 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. This, the first known literary reference to the honeymoon, was penned in 1552, in Richard Huloet's Abecedarium Anglico Latinum. Huloet writes:

Hony mone, a term proverbially applied to such as be newly married, which will not fall out at the first, but th'one loveth the other at the beginning exceedingly, the likelihood of their exceadinge love appearing to aswage, ye which time the vulgar people call the hony mone.

—Abcedarium Anglico-Latinum pro Tyrunculis, 1552[citation needed]

In many parts of Europe it was traditional to supply a newly married couple with enough mead for a month, ensuring happiness and fertility. From this practice we get honeymoon or, as the French say, lune de miel.[4][5]

There are many calques of the word honeymoon from English into other languages. The French form translates as "moon of honey" or "honey moon", as do the Spanish (luna de miel), Italian (luna di miele), and Greek (μήνας του μέλιτος) equivalents. The Welsh word for honeymoon is mis mêl, which translates as "honey month", and similarly the Polish (miesiąc miodowy), Russian (Медовый месяц), Arabic (shahr el 'assal), and Hebrew (yerach d'vash) versions. (Interestingly, Yerach is used for month, rather than the more common Chodesh. Yerach is related to the word Yare'ach for moon and the two words are spelled alike: ירח.) The Persian word is ماه اسل mah e asal which has both the translations "honey moon" and "honey month" (mah in Persian meaning both moon and month). The same applies to the word ay in the Turkish equivalent, balayı. In Hungarian language it is called "honey weeks" (mézeshetek).

International Perspective

Today the relevancy of the honeymoon as an inherent part of getting married varies internationally. In Europe the honeymoon is of somehow greater importance to wedding couples and more newlyweds travel for their honeymoon than for example in the US. Paralleling the general high affinity of the German population to travel, German couples have the highest inclination to honeymoon travel with more than 90% of bridal couples travelling after their wedding.[6]

References

  1. ^ "24:5". The Bible (New International Version ed.). Biblica, Inc. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy%2024:5&version=NIV. 
  2. ^ Ginger Strand (January 2008). "Selling Sex in Honeymoon Heaven". The Believer. http://www.believermag.com/issues/200801/?read=article_strand. 
  3. ^ Sylvain Venayre (June 2007). "Le Temps du voyage noces". L’Histoire (321): 57. ISSN 0182-2411. 
  4. ^ Gayre, Robert (1986). Wassail! In Mazers of Mead. Boulder, CO: Brewers Publications. p. 22. ISBN 0-937381-00-4. 
  5. ^ Acton, Bryan (1968). Making Mead. The Amateur Winemaker. p. 14. SBN 900841-07-9. 
  6. ^ honeywish (December 2009), Honeymoon Study 2009, http://www.honeywish.net/en/company/studies/ 

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HONEYMOON, the first month after marriage. Lord Avebury in his Origin of Civilization suggests that the seclusion usually associated with this period is a survival of marriage by capture, and answers to the period during which the husband kept his wife in retirement, to prevent her from appealing to her relatives for release. Others suggest that as the moon commences to wane as soon as it is at its full, so does the mutual affection of the wedded pair, the "honeymoon" (with this derivation) not necessarily referring to any definite period of time.


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