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Aug 3

Mead Day

The Mead of Poetry
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Odin Drinks the Magic Mead
illustration by Katharine Pyle (1863-1938)
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"An attendant stood by With a decorated pitcher, pouring bright Helpings of mead. And the minstrel sang, Filling Heorot with his head-clearing voice, Gladdening that great rally of Danes and Geats." ~ Beowulf (c 975-1010 AD), translation by Seamus Heaney

One of the world's oldest fermented beverages, mead has also been called honey wine, ambrosia or nectar. There are different variations of mead including: Acerglyn - Mead made with maple syrup; Black Mead - mead made with Black Currants; Bochet - mead made with the honey caramelized or burned before it is added to the water; and Braggot - mead made with malted grain (usually barley). In Norse mythology, the 'Mead of Poetry' is a mythical beverage that enables the drinker to become omniscient and also imbues the  gift of poetry.

Mead Day celebrates a historical and legendary beverage, mead.

Also referred to as honey wine, mead is made by boiling honey and water into a syrup, adding yeast and spices, then fermenting the mixture over the course of many months.  

In Celtic cultures, Mead was believed to enhance virility and fertility while also contributing supposed aphrodisiac qualities.

As a result, Mead found its way into Irish wedding ceremonies in particular. The term “honeymoon” is believed to have stemmed from the Irish tradition of newlyweds drinking honey wine everyday for one full moon (a month) after their weddings. Today, some Irish weddings still include a traditional Mead toast to the newlyweds.

In Norse mythology, the 'Mead of Poetry' is a mythical beverage that enables the drinker to become omniscient and also imbues a gift of poetry.

For learn more, click the illustration by Katharine Pyle showing the god Odin drinking the mead with the beautiful Gunnlod,  who was charged by her father, the giant, Suttungr, to protect the mead.  In the end, she is either seduced and tricked into giving the mead to Odin, who turns into an eagle, leaves her and brings the secret to mankind.