Mead is a drink that has been around for years and centuries. Mentions of this drink can date back to the 5th century. While its origin remains unclear, one thing is crystal clear: the beverage has been an integral part of weddings for centuries and continues to be so eons later. This article will look at this flavorful beverage and its involvement in weddings.
A brief history of mead
The origin of mead is unknown. It is believed to have descended from the heavens in the form of dew and then collected by bees. No one knows for certain how this drink was discovered, but there remain many speculations surrounding the same. Some believe it was an accidental discovery in the Stone Age when honey got wet and was contaminated by wild airborne yeast. Regardless, it is considered to be the oldest fermented drink sold even today because you will find several meaderies and honey farms putting up mead for sale.
Mead has appeared in many literary works and otherwise throughout history. Historical figures like Egyptian Pharaoh, King Tut, and Norse explorer Erik The Red have had a special liking for the beverage. Even personalities like Queen Elizabeth, Shakespeare, and Chaucer, the latter two of which even have written about mead in their literary works, had a strong liking for the honey wine.
Historically, the drink was considered a royal choice. In the early days of its discovery, mead is said to have been consumed by both nobles and paupers. However, towards the decline of its popularity, beer replaced the drink as the commoner’s choice, while honey wine became a royal drink.
The origin of ‘Honeymoon’
The highlight of mead’s history was the invention of the “honeymoon.” Unlike popular belief that the word originates from a term of endearment, the term is associated with the role of honey wine (aka mead) in weddings. Honey refers to mead or honey wine, and the moon refers to a cycle of the moon, which is a month.
Ancient wedding traditions included the bride and the groom performing the final toast to one another with mead as well as the proper start of the marriage. After the wedding, the couple was provided with enough mead to last a month, during which period the bride and the groom would toast each other with a drink every day. Then, at the end of one month, the entire bridal party would toast to a happy life with mead.
This tradition was backed with the belief that drinking mead would enable married couples to have a bouncing baby (preferably a boy) nine months after the ‘honeymoon.’ The unique tradition can be dated back to as early as the 5th century.
The Viking Wedding ceremony with mead
The Vikings were also believed to have used mead in their wedding ceremonies, as is written in the Eddas. However, the text covers only royal and notable weddings and not that of commoner weddings.
The mead ceremony involved the bride, groom, and the officiant taking three shots of mead each as the officiant speaks aloud words that seal the marriage. Other mead-related activities included footraces between the bride and grooms’ parties, the winner of which would serve mead the rest of the night.
With a long history and unknown origins, mead is a drink that has been a part of society and its wedding ceremonies for the longest time. From Viking ceremonies to the discovery of honeymoons, the beverage has played a vital role in weddings. So, are you including this unique drink in your wedding?