The Evolution of British Tea Traditions in the 18-19th Centuries

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The evolution of British tea traditions in the 18-19th centuries

Foreigners have many ideas about what the English like. I can say that a nation is born from its land, its history, its art, its institutions and its traditions. Britain is famous for its immutable traditions. The traditional love of English people for tea is well known by all over the world. The English have always drunk tea as a nation. And I understand their love for tea: it’s good any time of day, it’s very refreshing, and it can restore you, when you are tired. But it’ll be better to notice, that time is changing everything. It’s changing the style of our life. It’s becoming faster and faster every year. Different life – different traditions! Certainly tea-drinking, as a part of the English tradition, changed. Nowadays, unlike food, tea could be offered to anyone at any time without inconvenience and without breaking any of the rules of decorum. Its service provided a focal point for social activities, enabling people of differing rank to meet and converse, and helping to spread the 'polite' values of refinement, gentility and sociability. More than two centuries ago, in early eighteenth century Britain tea was usually prepared by the lady of the house in front of her guests. It was habitually taken in the mid-afternoon, after dinner, but as the century progressed, it was also more often drunk at breakfast. According to Likhachev D.S., who worked on the analysis of the Nature of cultural traditions, Each generation, in its activities, makes the choice of existing traditions (taking some tradition or aspects of them and at the same time rejecting others), and gives them their own interpretation. And so, most likely, the tea-drinking tradition was changed by the generations, the slaves of time in manifest error of what a real tradition is.
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