Tea parties, amused by people of every age and time, from kids to the elderly. Kids enjoy it in their plays, and elderly gather over a cup of tea to share the talk of past!.

Besides of the properly arranged tea parties, the tea forms the major part of our lives from bedtime tea (for making a refreshing start of a new day!) to midnight tea (for making up for the tiredness of the long hectic day!).

Tea thus forms a significant part of our present and our future indeed; an unbreakable relation we have with this daily life companion! But have you ever wonder about the past of our companion? What great history does it possess and from where the tradition of the tea party began?

According to the legends, history of tea party date backs to 17th century in Europe where the ladies sat in the afternoon in their fancy gowns sitting delicately with their cup of teas and gossiping; a perfect afternoon tea party!. The sources from the history trace the custom of tea parties to 1840s. Let me share the story briefly.

Duchess Maria and Queen Victoria Tea Parties

Anna Maria Russell (Duchess of Bedford) was a very close friend of Queen Victoria. In those days people usually have two major meals (a huge one!). There is a breakfast served early morning, and the dinner served around 8 p.m. Because of the snack less gap between the meals, Duchess experienced a sinking unpleasant feeling in her stomach.

So, to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling she started to take tea along with light treats in this gap around 4 p.m. in her private room. Gradually this tea time transformed into a manifest when Duchess began calling her friends on the cup of tea “Cuppa” (as the British call it) and walk in the field.

tea parties history

This tea time involved: hot tea, small sandwiches, and a lot of gossip in the elegant rooms. The custom of this tea party got hype when Queen Victoria started joining these parties most often as being a lifelong friend of Duchess.

The spread of tea parties among locals!

As talks about these tea parties began to revolve among the locals of that time; they too started to arrange a tea party (not as much lavish as the royals but a good one!!).

The style and etiquettes exhibited in these parties, however, differ from one class to another. The elite ones of society used to arrange the tea along with little snack by sending proper invitations to the friends and neighbors around (properly arranged and show off one!).

On the contrary, the middle class throws relatively simple tea parties. They call over some of the close friends or relatives; having a cup of tea with a light snack of talk (plain and effortless!)

Different names of the tea party!

As the tea party tradition began, it started to get multiple names “afternoon tea” “meal tea” “snack tea” “hi-tea” etc. Afternoon tea or snack tea is the one thrown by the leisured upper class with tea and light snacks.

The hi-tea or meal tea is a dinner time tea. I love to drink blooming tea when I came home after long day work; the comforting cup of tea pleasing my soul after a hectic day!.

history of tea parties

Tea Party in words of Royals!

Lady Gertrude Elizabeth; an Irish born journalist who married the brother in law of Princess Lousie (Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter) said following words about the tea:

“A tea…may be one of the most agreeable of the meals; seems to bring people together generating cheers and sociability.”

How accurate are these words…tea and the tea parties are no doubt a source of keeping people gathered socializing and sharing the laughs. What a happy life over a cup of tea and little snacks!