Tea has a rich history in many countries, and each of them has a unique relationship to this beverage. International Tea Day offers the opportunity to be thankful for the hard work of tea farmers and workers all over the world.
About International Tea Day 2021
Tea-producing countries such as India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam have celebrated International Tea Day on December 15 for many years. But in 2005, the United Nations officially adopted the day and moved it to May 21 to acknowledge the seaons when many teas are at their height of production.
The day is dedicated to raising awareness for the “long history and the deep cultural and economic significance of tea around the world.” We can take the opportunity to think about how important tea is for many countries’ cultures and economies. You can also get involved with local or virtual activities that promote sustainable production.
How Tea Is Celebrated Around The World
Each country has its own unique relationships with this ancient drink. Here’s how tea is enjoyed and celebrated in a few tea-loving countries.
Tea has been a core part of Chinese culture for many centuries. Originally medicinal, the Chinese began adding rice, salt, spices, citrus peel, and other ingredients to their tea in the 4th century.
Today, tea continues to play an important role in Chinese tradition. Tea has been responsible for much of China’s economic development and remains an aspect of daily life for all social classes.
Tea was introduced to Japan in the 8th century and is now the country’s most popular beverage. Japan cultivates tea in regions such as Shizuoka, Kagoshima and Uji. The Japanese enjoy many types of tea, but green tea is the most common variety.
Japan is also well known for its tea ceremonies – known as sadō, or chadō. This is a calming, meditative ritual which involves carefully carried out steps and a focus on being present in the moment.
The UK has been one of the world’s largest consumers of tea since the 18th century. It’s enjoyed by all classes and is considered a distinguishing characteristic of British identity and society.
English breakfast tea is typically served black, with milk, or with lemon. Many people enjoy adding white sugar. A British morning or afternoon tea typically includes dainty snacks like sandwiches, crumpets, scones or cake.
Mint tea is very popular in Morocco and is associated with friendship and hospitality. If you visit a Moroccan household, they will likely prepare and serve mint tea for you — a process referred to as atai.
The tea ingredients usually include green tea from the Chinese Zhejiang Province, sometimes called gunpowder tea. It is traditionally served in small glasses with mint, sugar, and a layer of foam on top.
International Tea Day activities
This day is all about practising gratitude for our tea. Here are some ideas for activities you can participate in.
Join the Tea & Herbal Association of Canada on May 21st from 8:00am to 7:00pm ET for a full day of interviews with tea experts around the world. This virtual event is for anyone who wants to learn more about their favourite beverage and gain an insight into this 5,000 year old beverage. Watch live here.
United Nations events
International Tea Day is organized by the United Nations, and they are putting on two events that tea lovers can enjoy from the comfort of our sofa. They are:
- Tea for Sustainable Development. 21 May 2020 at 10:00 hours (ETD).
- First Observance of the International Tea Day: Harnessing benefits for all from field to cup. 21 May 2020 at 14:00 hours (Rome time).
- Take part in a tea ceremony. Find out if your city has any traditional tea ceremonies taking place for International Tea Day. This is a perfect way to lean into the meditative and calming traditions of tea.
- Attend a tea tasting. This is similar to a tea ceremony, but a little less formal. This event allows you to try amazing teas from all over the world, such as gunpowder tea or Japanese sencha.
- Try tea from another culture. If you can’t find any events, why not order some interesting tea online? A sample box is a great way to explore different teas and commemorate the day.
- Visit a tea farm. Depending on where you live, you may be able to enjoy a tea farm tour. This is a fantastic way to gain some firsthand knowledge of the tea production process.
- Donate to a charity such as the Tea Leaf Trust. The Tea Leaf Trust is dedicated to helping young tea farm workers access education, employment and ethnic cohesion. Donating to them, or a similar charity, is a great way to give thanks to the workers who make our enjoyment of tea possible.
If you’re a lover of tea, this day is a great chance to promote its awareness and sustainability. There are so many fun and fulfilling ways to celebrate tea on May 21.