Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Medieval Mead Lore



The Celebratory Drink 

Mead has lost its popularity over the years to the sweet taste of wine.  When people think of mead they often think of medieval men and women drinking down a rough alcoholic beverage. We picture vikings, knights and kings toasting to success and victory.  What many people don't know is that mead is actually very sweet and easy to make.

Mead dates back so far that it is hard to pin point the exact origin of the ancient drink.  Historians believe that it was made accidentally discovered by the people of early civilizations in Ancient India and is the very first known alcoholic beverage.  Mead is a very basic drink containing only fermented honey and water.  It is the only alcoholic beverage that can be created naturally without the help of man.  It is possible that man's first experience with intoxication came from honey in an old tree trunk that was diluted by rain water and fermented by wild yeasts.

Not only is mead considered to be the nectar of gods, but it is also the drink of love and fertility.  The phrase “honeymoon” comes from the consumption of mead at wedding celebrations of the Norse (Scandinavians).  They would drink mead at wedding celebrations and if the beverage ran out before the last full cycle of the moon the host would have bad luck from then on.

Although we picture the rich and poor consuming mead in Medieval Europe, it was actually a drink only for the wealthy.  Mead is made easily after the honey is harvested, but honey during the medieval period was rare and hard to yield.  This is the main reason why mead has grown out of popularity.  It is much easier and cheaper to plant rows and rows of grapes for wine, than to plant hundreds of beehives.

During the Renaissance, mead was often saved for special occasions as it was a celebratory drink.  The weekend of September 14th will be a time to celebrate with mead, dancing, knights and feasts at Much AdoAbout Sebastopol Renaissance Faire.  Come learn more interesting lore about the Renaissance period and enjoy a fun family weekend in Sebastopol.        

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