Tea got it’s special day back in 2005. Since then International Tea Day is celebrated on 15th Docember in tea growing countries around the world. Twelve years on though and the offical day is a non-event in tea-consuming countries.
The initial purpose of Tea Day was to draw attention to tea growers and the employment conditions of low paid tea workers. By giving tea it’s own special day national governments, it is hoped, will be prodded into addressing problems in the tea growing areas. Problems include poor housing, and lack of education and health care. The special day also adds to a sense of collectivism among small tea growers who struggle to compete next to global tea giants.
However, if you, like me, live outside the tea growing countries then you probably did not even know there is an International Tea Day.
What actually happens on International Tea Day?
To mark the day tea merchants and tea bloggers will give International Tea Day a mention online. There will be the #Internationalteaday hashtags on Facebook and Twitter. In other words, in the tea-consuming world, International Tea Day is observed in a limited way, in a nod. Maybe this will be enough but a couple of tea events would be fun too. I guess it is one thing to announce a Day of Anything but special days have to be shared to make lasting impact. Yet all good things take time as we say, and International Tea Day is a relative newcomer on the calendar. It’s early days.
The creators of International Tea Day hope we will give a thought to where our tea has come from. Like how did it get to my cup? Someone picked the leaves I brew. If that someone is a human picker then it is bound to have been a woman. Low-lying, flat tea plantations are able to use machines to pick the crop but this is not possible in the best tea growing regions where the estates are small and steep.
To be honest I know enough about the issues facing tea industry bosses and workers to be thoroughly confused. There are many factors to consider. Can all of this years unrest in Darjeeling and Assam be blamed on the tea-growers? In saying that the plantation owners have a long history of using workers as if they were machines that turn off when not in use. Yet machines would recieve the necessary fuel and service to maintain peak productivity.
At the end of the day it is the drinking of tea that brings people around the same table – not an official day. The official day is able to grant tea workers a louder voice when they do meet with their employers around that table though. And that’s something.
Happy International Tea Day! 🙋🙂
(Featured Image: Pixabay)