A Brief History Of The Bachelor Parties Or Stag Party

January 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Days Out, Relationships

A brief history of the stag party

 

A stag party (Canada, South Africa and the United States), also known as a stag party, stag night or stag do (especially in the UK), a bull’s party (South Africa), or a buck’s party or buck’s night (Australia), is a party held for a man shortly before he enters marriage, to celebrate his “last night of freedom” or merely to spend time with his male friends, who are often at his wedding party afterwards. A bachelor party is usually planned by the best man or other friends of the groom.

stag party

The stag party, goes back much further than you’d expect. It’s rooted in ancient history — as early as the 5th century B.C. It is believed that the ancient Spartans were the first to make a celebration out of the groom’s last night as a single man. Spartan soldiers held a dinner in their friend’s honour and made toasts on his behalf — with, one assumes, a Spartan sense of decorum. Since then, the events have generally grown more raucous.

In 1896, a stag party thrown by Herbert Barnum Seeley — a grandson of P.T. Barnum — for his brother was raided by police after rumours circulated that a famous belly dancer would be performing nude. Before his wedding to Gloria Hatrick, Jimmy Stewart’s infamous bash at the Beverly Hills hangout Chasen’s included midgets popping out of a serving dish.

The reference to stag and bucks also has strong male conartations. The leader of the pack or herd, virile, male vigour and ardour, males in their prime identified with strength and vitality. There’s another stag connection with male rites of passage – again possibly involving drinking alcohol to excess and  soliciting the favours of ladies who are prepared happily to remove all their clothing for the appropriate sum. The Horned God referred to in both Celtic and early English mythology was a symbol of all things male –  the Celts called him Cernunnos. Legend from these times is often confused, but it seems clear that in pre-Christian times, Brits definitely worshipped a large hairy god who sported antlers, ran around with the Einheriar, or wild hunt.

As to the word bachelor, again its history is murky. The earliest meaning of bachelor in English is ‘a young knight who followed the banner of another’. This reference is first found in the late thirteenth century.  The use of the word in the context of ‘an unmarried man’, is found in Chaucer in the late fourteenth century.

The English word, seems to come from Old French. The source of the Old French word, many believe, probably comes from a  Latin word baccalaris ‘farmhand’ but who really knows well your guess is as good as the next man!

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