When we talk about culture, the first thing that comes to our mind is the way we live our life and do things. Some people prefer living a calm and easy life, while others like to be engrossed in their work. Different people have different life styles. Life style and preference changes from people to people and so does their needs for food and beverages depending upon the culture that they have been following, be it their beliefs or value system. However there is one thing that every culture has in common, the need for tea. It has become an integral part of people’s life and has been there for generations.
If we talk about the origin of tea, it is believed that the emperor of China, Shennong accidentally discovered it in 2737 BCE. He was sitting under a tree, drinking boiled water, when a few leaves dropped into it and that completely changed its taste and flavor. Since then, the roots of tea have been spreading among the Chinese and they termed the art of making tea as ‘cha dao’.
The tradition of drinking tea did not stop after that, it spread all around the world and has now become a part of our culture.
How did it Begin?
The tradition of drinking tea was brought to India by the British as a drink of the high class but in the later periods it became an inseparable part of India’s tradition. In our country where guests are considered next to God are usually served tea as a welcome drink. This clearly states the importance of tea in our country. We can find a tea stall almost at every corner of the street because it is the most preferred drink by people, especially to begin their day with. We must not be surprised to know that the Britishers who brought the tradition of tea to India, ending the Chinese monopoly also cannot survive a day without tea, they usually prefer it as an afternoon drink in the form of iced tea but can also drink it before going to bed. It is the most famous non- alcoholic drink in the States.
Isn’t Tea the most Obligatory Drink in other Countries too?
In countries like Japan and Morocco, drinking tea is considered a very special ceremony of connecting people with each other. The host of the tea party in Japan, usually serves green tea and takes care of every small detail of the ceremony which is done with special utensils and held in traditional tea rooms as a formal ceremony that may last up to four hours. They serve the traditional green tea and the powdered form of tea used to make it is referred to as ‘Matcha’. Whereas, in Morocco, mint tea is served three times a day for three different purposes. The first glass symbolizes life, the second symbolizes love and the third one, death. The tea ceremony for guests is considered so vital that it is prepared by the male head of the family and the art, also called ‘atai’ is further passed down through generations.
Just like every other country Russians too consider tea a symbol of connectivity. They usually prefer inviting people over a cup of tea rather than for a complete meal. It is considered more iconic than any other alcoholic drink in the country. Even today, Russians follow their old tradition of drinking tea after supper from a ‘samovar’, a tea making device that produces strong tea called ‘zavarka’. Myanmar on the other hand has a very distinctive way of consuming tea. They don’t just drink it, they also eat it as a snack. Laphet, a fermented tea leaf is put into fire and then buried underground for five to seven months. After that, the snack is good to go.
The list of traditions that people have been following since generations is too long to be talked about in one go. However, the one thing that we all can relate to is that, tea tends to build up great connection among people. It is the most vital part of almost every event and bridges the gap between the extreme timings of the day. It goes parallel to relaxation and signifies the much needed occurrences in day break. It has been and still is, a symbol of fulfillment to us. So, without any doubt we can say that our world lies in a tea cup.
I write not to move mountains, just your hearts.