In Ancient Egypt, tears of the Sun God Ra turned into bees upon touching the ground. In Ancient Greece, honey bees were a cult symbol for Artemis, the virgin huntress and goddess of wild nature. In Christian allegory, Honeybee often represented the Virgin Mary, also known as "Queen of the Bees" in Catholicism. One of the most diverse pantheons of bee and honey symbolism is in India. The Rig-Veda compiled between around 2000 BC contains many mentions of bees and honey. The Sanskrit word for honey is madhu, which is etymologically identical to the Greek methu and the Anglo-Saxon medu, or mead.
The cultural importance of honey is based largely on its sweet flavour. For many of the world's early civilizations, while honey was a major sweetness source and used to flavour drinks and food, its sweetness also had a cultural symbolic connotation associated with divinity, richness and plenty.
Ancient Greeks made offerings of cakes, wine, and honey to their deities, and the Promised Land of the ancient Hebrews was described as “flowing with milk and honey”. Its healing properties long recognized by Islam “honey is the remedy for every illness.”
Honey’s association with the divine also made it a symbol of immortality. One of the reasons behind this particular symbolism and not immediately obvious – is that honey is a natural preservative and possesses strong antiseptic qualities. Honey was even discovered in jars in the tomb of Tutankhamen. Modern authors, artists and scientists continue to be struck by bees, their buzzing lifestyle, complex organisation of their life and their importance in nature. A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh is the best known honey lover in fiction who goes to enormous lengths to obtain honey and getting into numerous scrapes as a result.