For anyone about to take the unwise step of tying the knot with their better half, it’s time for that one last big party before you settle down in suburbia. Brits call it a stag do, for Aussies it is a buck’s night, for the Americans it’s a bachelor party and for the Spanish it’s the despedida de soltero (goodbye to singleness). Of course a good time is had by all, but how do stag parties differ from culture to culture?
In Britain a generation ago the groom-to-be’s last night of freedom was often literally on the eve of the wedding. In the 1960s and 70s it was down to the local pub with your male relatives, best man and a few mates to get lashed the night before the wedding.
These days British men have got far more adventurous. The best man is still in charge of proceedings and now stags and their pals are often to be found heading across Europe for a weekend of hedonism in cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Budapest, Tallinn or Warsaw.
Some best men take it a step further and arrange a week in Dubai, Ibiza or Las Vegas if the budget stretches that far. Whatever the destination British stag dos involve plenty of heavy drinking, some male bonding with activities (paintballing, go karts, quad bikes and shooting) and a night or three on the town. Oh and perhaps a strip club might be on the agenda.
Fancy dress, fake kidnappings, dwarves with handcuffs and persuading your future father in law to leave the strip joint might also be on the cards if you’re a British stag!
In Germany, the stag party is called the Junggesellenabschied. The Germans know how to party and can put their beer away no problem. The German stag, like his British counterpart, can often be found marauding around European cities, dressed up in an embarrassing manner and being forced to meet a series challenges set by his intoxicated buddies.
For the Americans with their infamous bachelor parties the destination of choice is Vegas of course. The agenda for the weekend might be similar to the British or German version but with a US slant – mass consumption of alcohol, hiring a stripper, and general chaos.
The ‘bachelor’ and his pals might also get competitive with shark fishing, steak-eating contests or some drunken baseball.
For the Aussies buck’s night celebrations involve trips to other parts of the country (Syndey, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane) for a massive drunken party with the boys. Girls are invited too as long as they are strippers or topless waitresses!
In France, the bachelor party is called enterrement de vie de garçon, literally “burial of the life as a boy”. Once again, too much French wine (or beer or vodka or whisky) is on the cards, along with some ritual humiliation and a stripper or two.
For the Spanish the despedida de soltero quite often involves the groom and his bride and their respective male and female friends. Sometimes they party all night dressed identically and sometimes they just head to villa in the hills for too much sangria and rioja. The wilder Spanish stag might be found running with the bulls in Pamplona!
The worrying (!) concept of the joint Stag and Doe party, or hag do in the UK (hag meaning ‘hen’ and ‘stag’) has been gaining ground in the past few years, but most men keep it traditional and head out with their male pals for that epic final weekend of freedom.
If your missus asks whether a stag party is really necessary tell her is part of ancient history. The Spartans of 5th century B.C. were known to make a celebration out of the groom’s last night as a single man, hosting a dinner for their friend and raising toasts to his impending marriage.
Bridal showers have been around for much longer, but now some (lame) Americans have started the rather vanilla trend of “groom’s showers” where boards games and power tools are given as gifts. Leave that nonsense to the likes of Ned Flanders and get your stag do in Hamburg or Prague in the diary before you end up wearing a cardigan.
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