Tea ceremonies in United Kingdom
The afternoon tea has been an invention of Anna, the 7th duchess of Bedford. She used to get hungry during the afternoons, hence ordered a tray of tea to her room. Later she invited her friends and colleagues for “taking tea” and the afternoon tea ceremony was born.
For this occasion, tea made with silver, bone china or porcelain are used. Most of the time these small gatherings will be held at the “drawing room” or in the garden. The early participants used to dress quite nicely, if not formally, for the event. Thanks to duchess Anna, “teatime” is now observed almost worldwide with a delicious cup of tea and accompanied sweetmeats. The official teatime is between 3 and 5 pm.
Today, it’s difficult to allocate time for lengthy afternoon teas with friends and family. Nevertheless, they still organise tea ceremonies for special occasions. Events such as weddings, bridal showers, birthdays and New Year’s parties could be “tea-themed”. It is also a good marketing tactic for the high-end hotels, where they advertise “High tea” for special guests and tourists. These ceremonies require the guests to be in formal attire and follow the extravagant rules and rituals when taking tea. Although the tradition was to serve a few simple treats with the tea, today you can see savories, sweet items, and even sushi being a part of it.
In the UK, tea is served with both sweet and savory items. Main snack, as very famously known by the world, is biscuits. In addition to this, scones, pastries, sandwiches, and various types of cakes are offered dueing a high tea, espcieally. They are supposed to be served, first savory items, second neutral items such as crumpets, scones, and buns and finally sweet cakes, pastries and biscuits.