The History Behind the meaning of a Stag and Hen Party
Drink, dance, laugh, and drink some more. We all love a good party before we settle down and tie the knot. But have you ever thought about why we call hen and stag parties what we do? Here’s a little fun fact from history that explains the meaning behind the stag and hen.
First of all, hen and stag parties are not modern creations. They go back for years. The stag party reaches back into history, at least until Tudor times (bet Henry VIII had a blast!) One of the earliest recorded ‘stag parties’ was a pre-wedding feast held in Sparta back in the 5th Century. Hen parties are more culturally grounded in geographical areas of the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. It has been therefore suggested that ‘hen’ also derives from the term henna, which is a pre-wedding tradition and custom in these cultures.
Etymology (the study of the history of words) shows that in early 14th century English, hen pertained to a female of any species, not just a bird. Therefore a ‘hen party’ directly translated into an exclusive female party. Likewise, stag used to mean a male of any species, so ‘stag party’ directly denoted a male party. This is where the UK Small cultural differences mean that not every country has different variations on how they name these pre-marital parties. Australia call them hen and buck parties, whilst America refer to them as simply bachelorette and stag parties.
So there you have it, some pointless info that might come in handy one day in a weirdly specific pub quiz. (But probably not). But hey, we all love some fun useless facts.
Are you getting ready to hit the town on your hen and stag party?
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