Thursday, September 27, 2012

What Exactly is a Hen Party?

So a couple weeks ago I was contacted by this company in London, Polestar, that specializes in hen parties all over the Britain.  Originally we wanted to highlight what they offer, but the more we talked the more I wanted to know what exactly a hen party was.  So today, I have invited the adorable Laura Hughes to give us the low down.

 
Also, before I forget, I am over at the Polestar website filling the Brits in on what it takes to plan the perfect bachelorette party! 
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Why do the English call bachelorette parties ‘hen parties’?
 
When Traci got in contact with me she sparked a very interesting thought in my mind. She asked
me ‘why do the British call bachelorette parties ‘hen parties’?’ Really, on first thought, it makes
no sense. It is easy to understand where bachelorette comes from as it is the female of ‘bachelor,’
meaning a single male, therefore a bachelor, or bachelorette, party means the last party as a
singleton. But a ‘hen’ has no relation to marriage at all.
 
It would seem that the term ‘hen’ comes from the British obsession with naming women after
feathery creatures. Dating back to the 1800s women have been referred to as ‘birds’. This is slang
term that has stuck for the past two hundred years, and is often thought of as being derogatory as
it alludes to simple-mindedness and the idea of women being men’s pets. It is also suggests that it
goes back to the phrase ‘the birds and the bees’, that then alluding to women appearing very much
a part of nature.
 
‘Bird’ is chiefly British slang meaning young woman, but in Scotland the term ‘hen’ is very much used as a form of affection towards women. Much like the terms ‘love’, ‘babe’ and ‘darling’ across the country, ‘hen’ is generally used as a loose term in Scotland to describe all women. The word itself
actually derives from hen-wives, those being the women who were employed to tend to chickens. If
you think that it is strange for the Brits to call women chicken tenders as term of affection then we
should work our way south to Yorkshire where things get even more confusing! The term ‘chook’
is used to describe almost everybody up north. ‘Chook’ again is referring to birds, this time it could
mean either chicken but it could also mean duck, as in ‘lover’dook’ (with ‘chook’ rhyming with
‘dook’).
 
Elizabeth Dawn played Vera Duckworth in Coronation Street is a strong northern lass who enjoys the phrase ‘lover’dook’

 
 Really, there are none so strange as English folk!
 
Yet I still haven’t explained why we call our bachelorette parties hen parties. Other than in
Scotland ‘hen’ isn’t really used as an affectionate term. In fact, ‘hen’ refers to gossiping women,
or busybodies. Now it seems obvious to jump to the conclusion that all women are gossips and
busybodies hence why our strictly female parties are named after hens, but it must also be noted
that where ‘bird’ is used to describe younger girls ‘hen’ is used to describe women. This therefore
suggests that a hen party signifies the transition from being a ‘bird’ (a girl) to a ‘hen’ (a woman),
which is what being married is actually all about. This also makes the word ‘hen’ seem much more
positive.
 
Polestars have seen all types of women during our eight years of hen party planning, but we are yet
to have any actual hens turn up to any of our events, or birds or ducks for that matter! Although
every weekend our classes are jam packed with mad as you like English ‘birds’ from all over the
country who are having their special day made even more special by our fantastic teachers at all of
our alternative hen activities!
 
How most Polestars parties end up looking
Thanks for having me America, I hope I have managed to make sense of some of our confusing
British ways! Check out www.polestars.net for alternative hen ideas that you can enjoy from across
he pond!
 
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I hope this was enough info for you on hen parties lol, I really do suggest you head over to their website they have some great ideas and who knows maybe you could plan a bachelorette party in London?!    

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