Holiday Tea Traditions

Posted in Fava Tea

The holiday season is filled to the brim with a wealth of fun traditions, and you might be surprised to discover that tea plays an important role in many of them! So come along a-wassailing with us as we explore tea traditions from around the world!

Flaming Tea Ceremony

A tradition primarily performed in Russia and other Eastern European countries, the Flaming Tea Ceremony involves sugar cubes, brandy, and, you guessed it, fire! This Hanukkah ritual starts with a cup of tea, typically a traditional black tea. Everyone then gets a sugar cube and, as a container of brandy is passed from person to person, they dip their sugar cube in the alcohol. The lights are turned down as the sugar cubes are placed on teaspoons held over each cup of tea, and a flame is passed throughout the room. Each sugar cube is lit and the room fills with light while songs are sung and, together, everyone drops their flaming cubes into their cup of tea!

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You’re probably familiar with the classic holiday tune “Here We Come A-Wassailing,” but do you actually know what wassail is? Originally a popular German spiced wine or Meade sweetened with honey, wassail has evolved into a delightful cider concoction that typically contains apples, oranges, and a variety of spices combined with a base of black tea. As the temperance movement grew in various parts of the world, especially in England, wassail became an easy and delicious way to avoid alcohol during the holidays. This popular tradition was shared with all as carolers went door to door with the gift of music, and remains a constant amongst holiday rituals today. Looking for a fun alternative to the caffeinated version? Our Winter Spice Herbal is a fantastic alternative to this traditional beverage!

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Lunar New Year

Since tea has played an important role in cultures across Southeast Asia for thousands of years, it’s likely not surprising that tea can also be found at the center of many Lunar New Year traditions. Tea ceremonies are often practiced with family and friends, but they do vary from country to country. In China, ceremonies often begin on the first morning of the Lunar New Year, and the ritual involves younger family members serving their older relatives a sweet tea blend while offering new year’s well wishes. Other practices occur during various parts of the Lunar New Year celebration, with respect and gratitude at the heart of each.

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Afternoon Tea

Most working-class men of the 1830s relished the thought of a day off, and Christmas provided a unique opportunity to indulge in alcohol without the expectations of reporting to work the following day. But the temperance movement was just beginning, and leaders of the crusade wanted to make Christmas a family affair. Enter the tea parties you know and love. A practice originally founded by the Duchess of Bedford, who invited friends to her room for tea and refreshments during the afternoon hours, tea parties made for an easy way to gather entire families during the holiday season without the inclusion of alcohol. Many of these parties would be held in large halls or hotels decorated to the brim with pine boughs and dried fruit, and were typically held on Christmas Eve. Today, the tradition of Christmas Tea Parties continues on, with the inclusion of popular holiday flavors like cinnamon and peppermint at the forefront.

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Here at Fava, we have a few traditions of our own, like a cup of traditional black tea along with our Christmas morning cinnamon rolls or a movie marathon accompanied by some Reindeer Drool! But no matter how you enjoy your tea, we’re wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season. If you or someone you know has a favorite holiday tradition that involves tea, let us know in the comments below!

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