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November 1, 2022

Why is it called a bachelor party?

A party held or planned by the guy who will soon be getting married is known as a bachelor party (in the United States and occasionally in Canada), stag weekend, stag do, or stag party (in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth nations, and Ireland), or a buck’s night (in Australia).

The groom’s brother or friend typically plans the stag night, possibly with the help of a bachelor party organising service.

 

Western stag weekends were first mentioned in the Oxford English Dictionary in the 19th century. A black tie meal with a toast to the groom and bride was traditionally included of stag evenings. The father of the groom hosted the event. Since the 1980s, several bachelor parties in the US have included travel to another country or included female entertainment like strippers or topless waitresses.

History
The bachelor party has a long history, dating back to the fifth century B.C. The groom’s last night as a single man was commemorated by the ancient Spartans with a meal and toasts on his behalf.

The “Awful Seeley Dinner” was a stag party hosted by Herbert Barnum Seeley, a P. T. Barnum’s grandson, for his brother in 1896 at Sherry’s in New York City. A dancer at the party known as “Little Egypt” is rumoured to have performed nude dessert dances. Early in the morning, an officer called for the dissolution of the gathering. The police officer was then presented by the Seeley family in the police board trial for “behaviour unbecoming to an officer of the law.” That occurrence at the time made the “behind closed doors” issues with bachelor parties public.

First used to describe an unmarried male in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in the 14th century, the word “bachelor” originally meant “a youthful knight-in-training.” The phrase “bachelor party” was first used in 1922 and was described as a “jolly old” party in William Chambers’ Journal of Literature, Science, and Arts.

Variations

The equivalent event for the bride-to-be is known as a bachelorette party or hen night.

In Canada, some choose instead to hold a stag and doe, or a hag party or hag do in the UK (“hag” being a combination of the words “hen” and “stag”), in which both the bride and groom attend. These events may often provide an opportunity to fundraise for the wedding itself.

Canada

When Canadian stag nights may extend into weekend affairs, sometimes involving travel to a cottage or cities around Canada, and occasionally Las Vegas as well. As in South Africa, the itinerary of a stag event is frequently kept hidden from the groom-to-be. The Australian terminology ‘buck’ rather than ‘stag’ is sometimes used.

In the province of Manitoba particularly, a “social” is often held rather than a stag and doe, in which the public are invited to attend a large evening party at a rented pub or event venue. Tickets are sold at the door or online, there is usually a cash bar and silent auction, and a traditional buffet of regional snack foods known as a ‘midnight lunch’ will be served throughout the evening.

France

In France and in many French-speaking regions such as Quebec, the bachelor party is called enterrement de vie de garçon, which literally means “(the) burial of the life as a boy” or “burial/funeral of the life as a bachelor”. For women it is enterrement de vie de jeune fille, translated as “burial/funeral of the life as a young girl/maiden”. Bachelor parties were known as early as the 1830s, when in the Charpennes neighborhood of Lyon groups of young men would dine at the restaurant of La Mere Brigousse on her famous dish of enormous dumplings les tétons de Vénus (Venus’s breasts).

Germany

In Germany, this event is called Junggesellenabschied, which literally means “bachelor farewell”. There is also a separate event that the couple celebrates together on the evening prior to their wedding, called Polterabend. At the Polterabend, the guests break old porcelain and earthenware to bring luck to the couple’s marriage. The tradition is said to go back to pre-Christian times; by noisily breaking ceramics, evil spirits – especially spirits of envy – are supposed to be driven out. In the last couple of years, Anglo-style bachelor parties have become more and more popular among bachelors. In parts of northern Germany that lack a Carnival tradition, funny costuming has become a popular part of bachelor or bachelorette parties.

Some parts of Germany have a related custom, in which a person who is not yet married by their 30th birthday, is made to dress up in an embarrassing fashion by their friends and to do silly tasks that most often include some kind of cleaning work.

Israel

In Israel, the bachelors party is called מסיבת רווקים (mesibat ravakim), literally meaning bachelor party. Such parties may feature heavy drinking and sometimes the presence of strippers, or else other recreational bonding activities undertaken together, such as paintball or an overseas trip lasting a few days.

South Africa

Bachelor parties in South Africa are expected to be a surprise, which is a unique regional variant. The party is planned without the groom’s knowledge and is typically a couple days before the wedding. A bachelor party can include many family members and friends, and it isn’t limited to the wedding party. It often includes a traditional.

Sweden

In Sweden bachelor parties are known as Svensexa. They are documented since 17th century, and it is believed the tradition began with the bachelorette party, Möhippa, before followed by a male version. The parties were first called Svenafton, meaning Sven’s Eve. Sven is a Swedish first name, meaning “young man” and also used in connection with male virginity. The parties was dislliked by the church as they involved heavy drinking and the participants would show up hangover or drunk at service. In the 19th century it was reformed by the bourgeoisie, and it became known as Svensexa, where sexa was a new word for a late night party with dinner and alcohol, that started six o’clock with drinks and snacks. There were no activities at Swedish bachelor parties, other than food and alcohol, until the 1960s or 1970s. Since then they have developed to full day, or weekend events, traditionally starting with a kidnapping followed by activities that may involve humilation of the bachelor.They are usually not held the day before the wedding, but a few weekends before.

 

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