Tuesday, 26 January 2016

High Tea on the Prairie

Legend has it that the afternoon tea tradition began in England in the late 1800s. At that time dinner was eaten late in the evening around 9pm, often leaving people hungry in the afternoon.

The Duchess of Bedford complained of a “sinking feeling” in her stomach during the day, and began taking tea and light snacks in the afternoon. She invited her friends to join her tea breaks, and the idea spread like wildfire through their social circles. Afternoon tea was the perfect way to enjoy a meal and socialize with friends. While afternoon tea was characterized by lighter fare, high tea was traditionally a heavier meal served at the end of a work day on a high table - hence the name.

Japanese tea ceremonies have a long history as well. Japanese Tea Ceremony was performed in the tea house of the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden Henderson Lake in 1968. Mrs. Akiro Terashima, who had been in Canada only two years, performed the ceremony at the Doll festival Tea sponsored by the Lethbridge Ladies Buddhist Society. She whipped a mixture of powered tea and water until it is thick. Each movement was significant and traditionally takes eight years of study to learn to its ultimate simplicity and perfection.

In 1970 the YWCA of Lethbridge International Tea took guests into other worlds as they twirled and tapped their way through dances native to their own counties. The food of 22 countries was represented at the tea. Since this time and well-before, this tradition has been embraced by our community to include friends, family and neighbours from all walks of life. 

The tradition continues at The Friends of the Galt present the fifth annual Valentine’s High Tea on Saturday, February 13 from 2:30 – 4 pm in the private dining room at The View at Lethbridge with models showing elegant hats from London and New York. For more information call 403-320-3954.

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