According to many, honey wine was the first drink of human. Ancient people called honey wine as the drink of the gods. Honey wine is named like the nectar of the gods, ambrosia, or mead. The drink has been the subject of legends and its history goes back to 7000 BC. Like everything else, mankind has produced many stories, praises and legends for this wine.
Ancient Greeks used to mix honey with the first rains of spring and put it next to a warm fireplace. Then, they used the honey wine produced to honor the goddess Aphrodite. According to legends, the oracles in the temple used to drink honey wine and try to see the future.
Vikings believed that Honey wine as a champion drink was reserved for warriors who died in battlefield. After their death, the drink was given to warriors by a beautiful girl after reaching Valhalla.
Honey Wine, Mead of Poetry
There is also a myth about the making of the drink. After the war of Aesir-Vanir, the gods made a ceasefire agreement and sealed the agreement by spitting into a barrel. They also created a wise man named Kvasir from their spits to protect the symbol of this truce. Kvasir began to travel the world to inform, enlighten humanity.
One day Kvasir visits The dwarf Fjalar and Galar. He was deceived and killed by the dwarfs. After Kvasir’s death, the dwarfs pour his blood into two barrels, a vessel named Son and Bodn.
They mix the blood with honey so that they create a magical mead. Anyone who drinks it transforms into a poet or scholar.
Upon his disappearance, The gods searched for Kvasir. But the dwarfs explained the death of Kvasir as he had been drowned in an accident.
The mead for redemption
The dwarfs later invites a giant named Gilling and his wife and kill them too. Realizing that Gilling and his wife have not returned home, the giant’s son Suttung goes to find them. After questioning Fjalar and Galar, Suttung learns the truth.
Just as he will kill the dwarfs, Fjalar and Galar offer a deal by giving their mead for redemption. Suttung accepts the offer. Whereupon he took the mead and hid it in a cave and ordered his daughter Gunlod to protect the drink.
The mead fame reached the gods
Suttung was so proud that the story of the Mead reached the Aesir Gods. Then Odin disguised himself like a giant and went to Jotunheim. He called himself Bolverk. Odin sharpened the scythes of nine slaves who worked for Suttung’s brother Baugi and make nine slaves killing each other with carefully sharpened scythes.
Because Baugi had no slaves in hand, he hired the Bolverk who looked strong and did not need rest. The Odin in shape of Bolverk used the magic and worked hard. because his hard work, Baugi said he would give him a sip of mead on his brother’s behalf. When Bolverk finished his work, Baugi asked his brother for a sip of mead, but Suttung refused.
Therefore, Baugi drilled a hole in the cave, then Odin quickly transformed himself into a snake and went inside. Gunlod, who had been alone in the cave for so long, saw Odin in the form of a tall and handsome man. She forgot all his father’s orders. Gunlod entertained Odin for three days and nights. Finally she offered Odin a sip of Mead’s barrels. However, Odin then drank all the barrels, turned himself into an eagle and flew to Asgard.
Celts believed in the existence of a river of mead passing through heaven. They have faith that the mead give them divinity. The anglo-saxons believed that the mead brought knowledge, poetry, and immortality. It is also said that the term honeymoon comes from honey wine. In their culture the mead is given to newlyweds as a gift so that it can increase fertility and grow their families.
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