We are not having that cold of a winter here (at least not yet), but we have experienced some chilly days and nights.  While I see many people wandering around with their hands cradling coffee cups, I'm a tea person myself.  I have a small collection of (mostly china) coffee pots and chocolate pots and tea pots (one family heirloom dating to the mid-18th century) and also a couple of tea pots I actually use.  I finished off furnishing my office with the addition of a new china teapot and mugs.  And at home I make frequent use of the set in the photo above, which was given to me by my tea-loving son.

Putting the kettle on is what one does when one doesn't know what else to do.  Drinking in the warmth, holding it in one's hands, is comforting.  And sitting together sipping tea is a way many people experience a connection with one another. It's social and communal and sometimes therapeutic. Having tea is not just about the intake of necessary liquids.

My son and his fellow pilgrims discovered something about having tea as a community building activity when they were in Ireland last summer.  The guys decided to create the nightly ritual of having tea together, and eventually they began inviting the girls and the adults to join them.  Part of it was fun - wearing their button up shirts and arching their eyebrows and maybe extending the pinky finger and all that. But part of it was also probably a recognition of their own need to create community as they were away from home, in a foreign country, trying out some new freedoms and trying on some new identities.

Everyone needs rituals, and if we don't have them already in our lives, we will create them.  They help us stay centered, they give us comfort, they help us have something to do with our hands, they feed us and nourish us in many ways.  We love the familiar, the almost rote activity of doing what we know how to do to mark time or change or to bring comfort and stability into our world.

Blessed be the ritual of tea.


Perpetua said…
Amen to that, Penny. A lovely post which sums up what is so special about having tea together. I got back from an all-day meeting not long ago and the first thing I did was to make myself a pot of tea and relax with it. Ah.....
I, too, am a tea lover! I agree that it is much more than merely sipping a drink.

It is a time of quiet contemplation for me as well. From the putting on of the kettle, to the preparing of the tea pot, to the steeping of the tea, to drinking it's liquid; having a cuppa soothes mind, body and spirit. It requires us to slow down and quiet down; to appreciate the moment. I love that! And yes, it is a wonderful ceremony to share with family, friends and acquaintances. I am sincerely grateful for all things tea.

Beautiful post, Penny. Many blessings.
Perpetua, I had the early service this morning and then about 45 minutes until the next thing. I got a new electric kettle for my office, so I was able to sit and read with my tea. It was just the thing.

Michelle, thanks for your addition to the topic - I like your description of what your tea ceremonies mean to you.
Kay G. said…
Drinking tea is LIFE-GIVING to me!
My husband is English so I know how to make it and appreciate it.
By the way, if you find Yorkshire Tea in the store where you live, I highly recommend it, it is my favorite!