Though today it is a deep tradition to have a “last night of freedom” before a couple gets hitched. Though it has manifested into a modern tradition of drinking, penis straws, strippers and embarrassing moments for the bride or groom to be, many of these traditions go back centuries.
The Spartans were believed to have started the tradition in the 5th century B.C.E., having a final party before the friend entered into married life.
Also known as a stag party in some parts of the world and times of the past, these events also included heavy drinking, but often a black tie dinner at the Grooms Father’s home. This modern manifestation came with increased options for cheap travel, and modern cultural norms of clubs and drinking.
For women Bachelorette or Hen parties became a part after the sexual revolution of the 1960s, allowing women to have just as much fun of the men and moving away from the traditional bridal showers. Which were often private affairs with closest family and friends, and a chance for older women of a family unit to give advice and share gifts. Today Hen or Bachelorette parties follow much the same formula of drink, games and shenanigans.
Though in some parts of the world other traditions exist that go back centuries, such as the “blackening of the bride” which happens in parts of Scotland. Or Salty Brides in parts of China, where bride, mother and grandmother cry for a month before the wedding.