Tea rituals have been practiced for thousands of years across many different cultures.
Here, we take a look at different rituals and explain why your own tea time habit can be beneficial for both your physical and emotional well-being.
Understanding the importance of rituals helps to make the distinction between habit and ritual.
A habit is a behaviour that you do automatically with little thought involved. It could be something beneficial, like brushing your teeth, or an action that may cause anxiety such as checking your phone as soon as you wake.
But a ritual requires something else — purpose and meaning. It should also benefit whoever is involved.
A ritual can also be symbolic, connecting you with a higher purpose or even your spiritual side. And this can bring a whole range of benefits, including:
- Offering a break from your busy schedule
- Giving you the chance to practice self-care
- Bringing your awareness to the present moment
- Grounding you
- Bringing people together
Historically, tea rituals or ceremonies have their roots in ancient Japanese and other Eastern cultures, with the purpose of welcoming guests into the home or celebrating a special event such as a wedding.
In a typical tea ceremony, the host brews nutritious green matcha tea in a carefully performed set of steps. Once made, the tea is passed in a bowl amongst the guests, who all take a sip in turn.
The ceremony focuses on the tranquillity of enjoying the moment, sharing activities and taking a pause in a busy schedule.
But tea rituals can take on completely different forms in different cultures. For example, the English tea time ritual of “afternoon tea” was introduced by the Duchess of Bedford in 1840. In those days, dinner would be served around 8 pm, meaning the Duchess would go hungry in the afternoon.
So she requested that tea, bread and butter and cake should be served around 4 pm to stave off the hunger pangs. She soon found that this was an enjoyable habit to get into and the idea spread amongst her friends and then further afield.
Today, it’s an indulgent affair, which can be enjoyed at home or in smart hotels, where a selection of teas and sweet and savoury delights are served.
Now that you know the benefits of tea rituals, you might be wondering how to create your own version.
You can also choose healthy snacks to accompany your tea, such as fresh fruit, mixed nuts or healthy muffins and other bakes.
In addition to nourishing your body, think of your tea time ritual as a chance to refresh your mind.
Enjoy your ritual outside if possible so you can combine it with a chance to observe nature. And make sure you savour every sip of your tea, being mindful of its taste and aroma.
Your healthy tea ritual can be enjoyed by yourself or with friends, indoors or out — making it a versatile and healthy habit to get into.
Remember, there are no rules to starting your own ritual. Simply enjoy the process of creating your own unique ritual and the many health and wellness benefits that practicing it will bring to your life.