Epithalamium: The Poetic Tribute to Newlyweds

Here’s rather an ugly word for an occasion otherwise festooned with beauty : EPITHALAMIUM. It is from the Greek, ‘epithalamios’, meaning nuptials, and is a poem or a song in honour of the bride and groom. Originally it was sung by children to a bride and groom at the door of the bridal chamber on their wedding night. Weddings have been the inspiration for poetry since ancient times when blessings were evoked and often allusions made to nymphs, gods and goddesses. It was first used in literature by Sappho (yes, if she could have had marriage equality…) in, for example:

“ Raise up the roof tree-
a wedding song!
High up carpenters-
A wedding song!
The bridegroom is coming,
The equal of Ares,
much bigger than a big man.”

Ares is the Greek god of war, the son of Zeus and Hera and one of the most powerful gods on Mt Olympus. Ares married Aphrodite; they had 8 children, one of whom was Eros, the god of love.

By the way, Sappho died in 560 BC. She wrote about love and physical bewitchment. She wrote about men. And she wrote about women.

In relationships, there is nothing new under the sun. Nothing.

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