One of the things you have to experience while studying English in London is afternoon tea! When we think about British traditions, drinking tea definitely takes top place on the list of things to do. But, have you ever wondered where the origins of having tea at 5 o’clock come from?
It is believed that afternoon tea was introduced by Anna the Duchess of Bedford in the early 19th century. During these times it was common to only eat two main meals a day. Breakfast was served in the morning and dinner late in the evening leaving a long interval in between. The Duchess would become hungry around 4 o’clock in the afternoon so would asked for a tray of tea with bread and butter. Gradually this became a habit of hers and later she began inviting friends to join her.
Later on, this pause for tea became a fashionable social event. Upper-class and society women would change into long gowns, put on their hats and gloves before going for afternoon tea which was served between four and five o’clock. After centuries of drinking tea it has now become a tradition and is still extremely popular among British people. However nowadays afternoon tea is no longer a snack to fill a gap between meals, but rather a way to meet and eat.
There are no set rules, but afternoon tea usually consists of a selection of freshly prepared finger sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream, a variety of homemade cakes, pastries and of course the most important part of all – a range of teas.
If you fancy an afternoon of tea and good company than you have a chance to experience this British tradition. We are going to have afternoon tea as a part of this week’s Social programme. Meet Maria on Friday 30th of January at 3:30pm in reception.