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The Tradition of Telling the Bees: Beekeeping When the Queen Died

oil painting of a beekeeper sitting in front of his hves having a conversation about death with his bees

Telling Bees Someone Has Died: A Historical Funeral Tradition

Telling bees someone has died is an ancient custom that has been passed down for generations. The practice involves informing the bees of the death of a family member or a beekeeper. The belief is that bees are highly intelligent and social creatures that are connected to the spiritual realm. Therefore, informing them of a death is a sign of respect and helps prevent the bees from leaving the hive or dying.

The custom of telling bees someone has died is believed to have originated in Europe during the Middle Ages. It was a common practice among beekeepers who believed that bees were sacred creatures and had the ability to communicate with the dead. The custom was also prevalent among rural communities, where bees were considered to be an integral part of the family and a symbol of good fortune.

Today, the practice of telling bees someone has died is still observed in some parts of the world. It is seen as a way of honouring the bees and acknowledging their importance to the ecosystem. While some may view it as a superstition, others see it as a way of maintaining a connection with nature and the spiritual world.

The Tradition of 'Telling the Bees'

The practice of "telling the bees" is an old and well-established tradition that dates back centuries. The origins of this practice can be traced to Celtic mythology, where bees were seen as messengers between the living and the dead. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the practice of "telling the bees" became a common custom in many parts of Europe, particularly in rural areas.

The tradition of "telling the bees" involves informing the bees of significant events in the life of their keeper, such as a birth, marriage, or death. When someone in the household dies, it is believed that the bees must be told right away, or else they will take sick and die off. This is because the bees are seen as part of the family, and their well-being is believed to be closely tied to the well-being of the household.

The practice of "telling the bees" is steeped in folklore and superstition. It is believed that if the bees are not told of a death, they will leave the hive or stop producing honey. To prevent this from happening, the beekeeper would traditionally drape the hive in black cloth and knock on the hive to announce the death. The beekeeper would also leave a piece of black cloth or ribbon on the hive to signify mourning.

The tradition of "telling the bees" has been passed down through generations and is still observed by some beekeepers today. While the practice may seem unusual to some, it is a testament to the deep connection that humans have with nature and the importance of honouring the creatures that we share our world with.

The Beekeeper's Ritual

Telling the bees about someone's death is a long-standing tradition in beekeeping. Beekeepers believe that bees are highly intelligent creatures and that they should be informed of important events, such as the death of their keeper or a member of their family.

The ritual involves the beekeeper approaching each hive and gently tapping on the side of it, while softly speaking to the bees. This is done to let the bees know that someone has passed away. The beekeeper would then introduce themselves to the bees and inform them of the name of the person who has died.

Many beekeepers would continue to follow the tradition and perform the ritual every time someone passed away. Some beekeepers would even go as far as to leave a piece of black fabric near the hives as a sign of mourning.

The tradition for beekeepers to tell the bees about someone's death is not just limited to the common beekeeper. Even royal beekeepers have been known to perform the ritual. Queen Elizabeth II's bees have a royal beekeeper who is responsible for their care. If someone close to the royal beekeeper has passed away, it is said that the royal beekeeper has informed the queen's bees of the sad news.

While the tradition may seem strange to some, it is a testament to the strong bond between beekeepers and their bees. Beekeepers would knock on each hive, and the bees would be informed of the death of their keeper or a member of their family. It is a way of showing respect for the bees and acknowledging their intelligence and importance in the beekeeping tradition.

Significance of Events

Telling bees someone has died is an age-old tradition that dates back to the 1600s. It is believed that honey bees are highly sensitive creatures and can pick up on the emotions of humans. When someone dies, it is thought that the bees must be informed of the death, or they will leave the hive or stop producing honey [1].

The significance of events such as death in the family, news of the death, and following a death are important to consider when telling bees. It is believed that if the bees are not informed of the death, they may become agitated and leave the hive. This can be detrimental to the hive and the production of honey [1].

Moreover, telling bees about important events such as births and deaths is also believed to be important. It is thought that the bees can sense the emotional state of the beekeeper and may become agitated if they are not informed of such events. This can lead to a decline in honey production and even the death of the hive [1].

In addition, it is important to note that the significance of events such as a new master, death or marriage, and other important events can also impact the bees. It is believed that the bees can sense the changes in the environment and the emotional state of the beekeeper. As a result, it is important to inform the bees of such events to maintain a healthy and thriving hive [1].

Overall, the significance of events when telling bees someone has died is an important tradition that has been passed down through generations. By informing the bees of important events, beekeepers can ensure the health and productivity of their hives.

[1] Source: Telling traumatic events in adolescence: A study of master narrative positioning.

Consequences of Neglecting the Ritual

Telling bees about the death of a family member was an important tradition in many cultures. Neglecting this ritual could have serious consequences for the bees and the beekeeper. Bees were believed to be highly sensitive to the emotional state of their keeper, and neglecting the ritual could result in the bees leaving or even dying.

If bees were not informed of the death of their keeper or a family member, they would hum mournfully and stop producing honey. In some cases, they would even abandon their hive. This was because bees were believed to have a strong emotional connection to their keeper and would feel the loss deeply.

In some cultures, it was believed that neglecting the ritual would result in a penalty being paid. This penalty could take the form of reduced honey production or even death of the bees. It was thought that the bees would know if the ritual had been neglected and would take action accordingly.

The consequences of neglecting the ritual were not just limited to the bees. The beekeeper could also suffer. Bees were an important source of income for many beekeepers, and neglecting the ritual could result in a loss of income.

In conclusion, neglecting the ritual of telling bees about the death of a family member could have serious consequences for both the bees and the beekeeper. Bees were believed to be highly sensitive to the emotional state of their keeper and neglecting the ritual could result in the bees leaving, not producing honey, or even dying. It was important for beekeepers to honour this tradition to maintain a healthy and productive hive.

Telling Bees of Royal Events

In the past, it was believed that bees were highly attuned to the events happening in their surroundings. Beekeepers would often inform their bees of important happenings such as births, marriages, and deaths in the family. This practice was believed to ensure the continued health and productivity of the bee colony.

One such event that beekeepers would inform their bees about was the death of a monarch or other important figures in the royal family. It was believed that the bees needed to be informed of the death of the queen, as they were considered to be the queen's bees. If the bees were not informed, they might leave the hive and not return, which would result in the death of the colony.

There are many accounts of this practice being carried out throughout history. For example, when Queen Elizabeth II died, beekeepers in the UK informed their bees of the queen's death. It was believed that the bees needed to be informed so that they could mourn the queen's passing and continue to thrive.

It is not clear if there is any scientific basis for this practice. However, it is believed that bees are highly attuned to vibrations and changes in their environment. It is possible that they can sense the emotions of their keepers and respond accordingly.

Overall, the practice of informing bees of royal events such as the death of a monarch is an interesting part of beekeeping history. While there may not be any scientific evidence to support the practice, it is a fascinating example of the close relationship between beekeepers and their bees.

Public Response and Media Coverage

Telling bees someone has died is an old tradition that has been passed down through generations. When a beekeeper dies, it is believed that the bees need to be informed of the death, or else they will leave the hive or die. This tradition has been covered by the media and has garnered public interest.

The Daily Mail published an article in 2017 about a beekeeper named Mark Norman who passed away, and how his family followed the tradition of telling the bees. The article explained the tradition and how it was important to Norman's family to keep the bees informed of his passing.

The public response to the article was mixed. Some found the tradition fascinating and heartwarming, while others found it strange or superstitious. However, the article was shared widely on social media and sparked discussions about other traditions and beliefs related to death and mourning.

While the tradition of telling bees someone has died may seem unusual to some, it is important to remember that traditions and beliefs vary across cultures and communities. It is also important to respect these traditions and not dismiss them as mere superstitions.

Norman said in an interview that he had been taught the tradition by his grandfather and that he believed it was a way to show respect to the bees and his family's connection to nature. The media coverage of Norman's passing and the tradition of telling the bees helped to bring attention to this unique and meaningful tradition.

In conclusion, the media coverage of the tradition of telling bees someone has died has sparked public interest and discussion. While some may find the tradition unusual or superstitious, it is important to respect cultural and community traditions and beliefs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the tradition of "telling the bees"?

A: The tradition of "telling the bees" is an age-old custom where beekeepers inform their bees about significant events, such as the death of a loved one, to ensure the well-being of the hive.

Q: How do beekeepers "tell the bees" about a death?

A: Beekeepers may "tell the bees" by speaking to the hive, tapping it with a key or a metal object, or gently informing the bees of the news of a death.

Q: Why do beekeepers "tell the bees" when the Queen dies?

A: Beekeepers "tell the bees" when the queen dies to prevent the bees from leaving the hive or becoming agitated, ensuring the smooth continuation of their beekeeping activities.

Q: What is the significance of "telling the bees" when the Queen dies?

A: The practice of "telling the bees" is believed to maintain the well-being of the hive and to honour the connection between the beekeeper and the bees, contributing to the overall success of beekeeping.

Q: Is the tradition of "telling the bees" still practised today?

A: While the tradition of "telling the bees" has waned in modern times, some beekeepers still observe this custom, especially those who value the historical and cultural significance of beekeeping.

Q: Are there different variations of the tradition of "telling the bees"?

A: Yes, there are various regional and cultural interpretations of the tradition of "telling the bees," each with its own unique customs and rituals related to beekeeping and the communication with bees.

Q: What are some examples of major events that beekeepers would "tell the bees" about?

A: Beekeepers might "tell the bees" about major events such as the death of a monarch, a significant family member, or any event that could have a profound impact on the household or the community.

Q: How did the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II impact the tradition of "telling the bees"?

A: The recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II renewed interest in the tradition of "telling the bees," as it brought attention to the historical practice and its significance in beekeeping culture.

Q: Is the tradition of "telling the bees" linked to specific customs or folklore?

A: Yes, the tradition of "telling the bees" is often linked to folklore and customs within beekeeping communities, with various stories and beliefs surrounding the communication and care for bees in times of important events.

Q: How do the bees react when they are "told" about a significant event?

A: While the reaction of bees to being "told" about a significant event may vary, some beekeepers believe that the bees should be informed gently and respectfully, as it may influence the well-being of the hive.

 

 

 

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