Tea party

From ArticleWorld

The tea party is a formalised social gathering in which persons join together to enjoy afternoon tea, consisting of the drink, possibly accompanied by a selection of snacks and cakes. This ritualised custom was particularly popular with the nobility and upper classes in England during the 19th and early 20th Centuries.


The customary ritualised tea party is often seen as an antiquated gathering with the pomp and formality involved in the occasion. It would be customary for attendants of tea parties to dress in formal clothing of the age to uphold and maintain certain principles or traditions. The popularisation of the tea party occurred in the great houses of the Victorian and later the Victorian ages in Great Britain. Guests would be served with a wide variety of beverages and snacks, whilst enjoying conversation and sharing jokes, songs or stories. Depending on the conditions and the company tea may be accompanied by cool drinks. Similarly tea may be taken outside in the grounds of the houses or elsewhere in the countryside if the weather permits.


With tea parties generally being considered to be the conserve of the bourgeois upper classes, it would not be uncommon to have servants to cater to the needs of guests. However as writer Emily Post observed in 1922, during a standard afternoon tea servants were often required to refresh snacks and drinks, but beyond the performing of these duties would not be allowed to remain in the same room. But in the slightly less uptight surroundings of a tea party servants may be permitted to stay. The traditions of the tea party spread throughout the commonwealth, following the aristocracy and high ranking army personnel in colonial countries such as India. The era of the traditional tea party has now subsided and is unlikely to be upheld in many households in the modern day.