Sometimes the wait for dinner is far too long, and lunch passed too many hours ago, and the length of the day is starting to wear at you. When this happens, it’s time to settle in with a warm cup of tea and some light sandwiches, take some time to appreciate the day, and bolster yourself for the rest of the evening. Afternoon Tea Week taps into the British Tradition of afternoon tea to help bring a bit of elegance and pomp to an otherwise unremarkable time of day.
History of Afternoon Tea Week
Afternoon Tea Week was established to help secure a tradition that has graced British afternoons since the 1840’s. In those days, dinner often wasn’t served until 8pm, and lunch wasn’t actually a thing, so what was a hungry person to do? Create a new mini-meal in the middle of the day of course! Traditionally this meal contains tiny finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and sweet dainties like cakes and pastries to help lift the spirits, bolster energy, and see you through the rest of the day.
This simple afternoon meal grew into a social event, especially for those who spent their lives in the upper echelons of the day’s society. This became even more prominent once Queen Victoria herself took part in this tradition. At that point the concept of the ‘tea reception’ was born, lavish and fancy afternoon repasts that could host anywhere from a close collection of friends to a couple hundred of society’s most important faces.
As the name suggests, tea was a central part of this meal, a tradition started by Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford. She often found herself feeling weary or worn down in the middle of the day, and a pot of tea with a snack just seemed to be the best way to take care of it. She soon invited friends to join her for walks in the field, and the snowball that would become Afternoon Tea began.
How to celebrate Afternoon Tea Week
Celebrating Afternoon Tea Week is simple, for the length of a week make a pause for Afternoon Tea a part of your day. Warm tea, a few sweets, and a small repast will help lift your spirits and drive you through the rest of your day. If you really want to go all out you can organize a tea reception, and even go so far as to wear Victorian Costume to honor the history of this holiday. Even if you just have a cup of tea each day, remember Afternoon Tea Week and take a few breaths to Keep Calm, and Carry On.