The Bees, their Honey, the Moon
+ Love & Marriage
Mead is a beverage quite uncommon in America. (Not because of its taste, but because of our wealth. It may be the least expensive of the fermented drinks and is thought to be too cheap to be good.) It is only slightly an alcoholic beverage that results when ordinary bee’s honey ferments and is mixed with water and sometimes spices or fruits. Mead has a distinctly sugar flavor. It is a favorite among newlyweds in most western civilizations and often serves as the beverage of the toast. When manufactured commercially, mead is stable enough to be carbonated so that it resembles champaign.
Mead is also the inspirited source of the word, honeymoon. We all know about honeymoon, most of us have had one. Generally speaking, honeymoons are holiday trips taken by newly married couples to an exotic destination where they can celebrate their marriage.
The honeymoon is often thought to be the time immediately following a rite of marriage when love and happiness between a man and woman are most intense. Since 1546, the Oxford English Dictionary has defined a honeymoon as the first month of marriage when love is the sweetest – much like the phases of the moon.
Postcards and postcard artists have used the honeymoon as a topic almost from the start. One collector – frankly, the only collector of honeymoon cards, I know – has searched, at my request, for the oldest postmark in her collection. It turns out to be August 5, 1903.
That date in that year was a Wednesday. The message read as follows:
Robert and I were married today by the vicar at Saint Margaret’s Church in Whitcomb. We shall always remember today. Hope you are well.
We sign with love and in happyness,
Your niece Enid and your new nephew Robb
* * *
Sets of honeymoon cards often appear in dealer’s inventory. They are not plentiful, but they are fun to collect and from time-to-time it seems that newlyweds used postcards to announce a marriage to friends and relatives, such as the one above.
Honeymoons have been a popular topic both in America and in Europe. Some well known and highly respected artists have drawn images of honeymoons for postcards, namely Harrison Fisher, Tom Browne, Richard F. Outcault, Louis Wain, Lawson Wood, Walter Wellman, and others.
Here is an amusing set published in the UK by an unknown artist.
Tom Browne’s comic talent is hard at work in his version of what happens during a honeymoon at sea.