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Kesta Allen

A British obsession,
tea drinking started in England as late as the 17th century and the tradition of the afternoon tea only dates back to the early 1800s.

The afternoon tea session began as a chance for women to meet together without men. The hostess would always pour the tea and would often serve the tea with sandwiches, crumpets, scones, cakes and pastries.

The pastime took off. Not content with keeping tea drinking inside the house, the British started organising picnic teas which gave people a chance to be outdoors. The food would be carefully prepared and carried in hampers and baskets.

By the start of the 20th century tea drinking had become a national pastime. Many hotels and department stores had their own little teashops which provided an informal meeting place to talk business as well as pleasure.

The afternoon tea tradition came full circle in the 1950s with the craze for tea dances – a chance for women to meet men.

Three Tea Superstitions

If the lid is accidentally left off the teapot, you may expect a stranger bearing ill tidings.

To spill a little tea whilst making it is a lucky omen.

To stir the tea in the pot anti-clockwise will stir up trouble.

Three Tea Quotables

'Women are like tea-bags. It's only when they're in hot water that you realise how strong they are.'
Nancy Reagan, Wife of US ex-President

'Give me tea sweet and weak. Bring me the Times and do not speak.'
A. P. Herbert, a British politician who improved divorce laws

'Take some more tea,' the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
'I've had nothing yet.' Alice replied … 'So I can't take more.'
'You mean you can't take less,'
said the Hatter. 'It's very easy to take more than nothing.'
Lewis Carroll, author of 'Alice in Wonderland'.

Four Tea Expressions

A storm in a teacup
Something that is not very important which people make a lot of fuss about. In America, where everything is bigger, the expression is "a tempest in a teapot".

Not my cup of tea
Something you do not feel very enthusiastic about or interested in.

Not for all the tea in China
Something you emphasize that you definitely DO NOT want to do.

It's no tea party:
In America, something that is very difficult or unpleasant to do.

Reading Tea Leaves

Try reading your fortunes in tea leaves. First make a cup of tea with a generous amount of tea leaves. Do not strain the tea. Sip the tea and make a wish. Then rotate the cup in an anti-clockwise direction three times using your left hand. Turn the cup upside down onto the saucer. Point the handle of the cup towards you. Now pick up the cup and you can read the leaves left inside for your fortune!

GOOD LUCK SYMBOLS: stars, triangles, trees, flowers, crowns and circles.
snakes, owls, crosses, cats, guns and cages.

Source: New English Digest


crumpets: English muffins (bollitos dulces)
pastime: a hobby, a freetime activity (pasatiempo)
took off: left, disappeared (desapareció, "levantó vuelo")
hampers: large baskets for food (viandas)
craze: fashion (moda, onda)
lid: cover (tapa)
left off: left outside (sin colocar)
bearing ill tidings: bringing bad news (con malas noticias)
to spill: to pour, to overflow (derramar)
whilst = while (mientras)
omen: a sign of something about ot happen (presagio)
to stir: to agitate, to move around (revolver)
anti-clockwise: on the opposite direction to the hands of a clock (en dirección opuesta a las agujas del reloj)
to stir up
: to provoke, to arouse problems (provocar)

weak =/= strong (liviano, no cargado)
storm (UK) = tempest (US) (tormenta)
make a lot of fuss about: make unnecessary excitement about unimportant things (acerca de lo cual hacen mucho escándalo)
unpleasant: annoying, not pleasant (desagradable)

to strain
: to filter out (colar, pasar por la coladera)
to sip
: to have a small drink (beber a sorbos)
turn the cup upside down: invert the cup (daR vuelta la taza)
saucer: small plate (platito, plato de té)
handle: handgrip (asa de la taza)
crown: the symbol of a monarchy (corona)
snakes: vipers, serpents (víboras, serpientes)
guns: revolvers, weapons (revólveres)
cages: place where domestic birds are kept (jaulas)