Bachelor Parties: Creating Hangovers Since 500 BC
Time explores history of debauchery ritual
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2009 2:30 PM CDT
In this film publicity image released by Warner Bros., Zach Galifianakis, right, Bradley Cooper, center, and Ed Helms are shown in a scene from "The Hangover."   (AP Photo/Warner Bros., Frank Masi)
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(Newser) – With The Hangover’s bachelor party tale dominating the box office, you might be wondering: Just where did this ritual come from? Time offers a brief history:

  • In the 5th century BC, the ancient Spartans celebrated the groom’s last night as a single man with dinner and toasts.
  • In 1896, rumors circulated that a belly dancer would be performing nude at a stag party thrown by PT Barnum’s grandson. A police raid ensued.

  • “Bachelor” used to mean a young knight or a student with a bachelor's degree, and was first used to describe an unmarried man in Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th-century Canterbury Tales. “Bachelor party” was first used in 1922 in a Scottish journal to describe a "jolly old" party.
  • In the 1960s, women caught up with the bachelorette party. In recent years, combined stag and doe parties have become popular.