Tea, Tranquility and Enlightenment: A Reflection on International Tea Day


May 21st is International Tea Day, a celebration of the world’s most popular beverage after water. Tea has been enjoyed for thousands of years and plays an important cultural role across the globe. From English breakfast to Chinese oolong, Japanese matcha to Indian masala chai, the varieties of tea are endless. Tea brings people together for warmth and conversation. On this day, tea lovers worldwide will brew up their favorite cuppa and appreciate the humble tea leaf. Whether sipping alone or sharing with friends, International Tea Day is a time to savor the flavors and aromas of this ancient drink.

  • International Tea Day is observed annually on May 21, according to the United Nations.
  • The day was first initiated in 2005 by trade unions, small tea growers, and civil society organizations across Asia and Africa.
  • The day aims to raise awareness of the long history and the deep cultural and economic significance of tea around the world.
  • India is one of the largest producers and consumers of tea in the world.
  • There are six main types of tea: green, yellow, white, oolong, black and pu-erh. Each type is processed differently and has a unique flavor profile.
  • On this day, various events and activities are organized globally. The FAO Director-General inaugurates the event, focusing on women and their role in the tea sector.
  • The event also includes a dialogue with the participation of the FAO Director-General and women from the tea and coffee sectors.
  • An exhibition is hosted in the Atrium, accompanied by tasting events for tea and coffee.
  • Tea is a prominent global commodity that extends beyond its consumption. It serves as a significant cash crop for developing countries, fostering rural development, poverty reduction and food security.
  • Tea production and processing represent a source of livelihood for millions of families, including in least developed countries.
  • It also contributes to socio-economic development, representing a major source of employment and income for millions of poor families worldwide.

The story of tea began over 5,000 years ago in ancient China. Legend says leaves accidentally fell into a pot of boiling water, creating the first cup of tea. From these humble beginnings, tea spread throughout the world via trade routes like the Silk Road. It became an important commodity that shaped economies and cultures. Major events like the Boston Tea Party highlighted tea’s global significance. Despite its simple origins, tea developed traditions and rituals over centuries. Today, this ancient beverage remains a symbol of hospitality and connection to the past.

  • FAO Celebration: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) hosts a hybrid event focusing on women’s role in the tea sector, featuring dialogues and an exhibition accompanied by tea and coffee tasting events.
  • United Nations Observance: The UN emphasizes the cultural heritage, health benefits, and economic importance of tea, with a special focus on honoring women from crop to cup.
  • Tea Festivals: Global tea festivals offer tea tastings, panel discussions, outdoor activities, and tours of tea gardens, bringing together experts and enthusiasts.
  • Public Campaigns: Civil society organizations and small tea growers engage in seminars, public campaigns, and presentations to promote fair practices in the tea industry.
  • Educational Workshops: Events are organized to educate participants about sustainable tea production and consumption and the importance of tea in combating hunger and poverty.

Tea is more than just a drink – it holds immense cultural importance worldwide. In Japan, the traditional tea ceremony shows respect through the artful preparation of matcha tea. Afternoon tea is a beloved British custom. Moroccans often serve mint tea to guests as a sign of hospitality. From China’s Gongfu tea rituals to India’s beloved chai, tea traditions unite people across cultures. Though the specific customs vary, tea represents a simple shared experience that brings people together globally. 

■ Also Read: International Day of Family: Nurture Your Family with Supreme God’s Blessings

The tea industry is the economic backbone for countries like China, India, and Kenya, providing livelihoods for millions. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage worldwide. In many cultures, tea symbolizes hospitality and calm. The tea industry includes large commercial operations as well as small-scale artisanal growers. This results in a rich variety, from bold Assam teas to delicate white teas.

  1. “A cup of tea is a cup of peace.” – Soshitsu Sen XV
  2. “Tea is the magic key to the vault where my brain is kept.” – Frances Hardinge
  3. “Tea is a drink of peace and tranquility.” – Unknown
  4. “Where there’s tea, there’s hope.” – Arthur Wing Pinero
  5. “Tea is the elixir of life.” – Lao Tzu
  6. “Tea time is a chance to slow down, pull back, and appreciate our surroundings.” – Letitia Baldrige
  7. “A cup of tea makes everything better.” – Unknown
  8. “Tea is quiet and our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty.” – James Norwood Pratt
  9. “Tea, a beverage as old as time, offers solace in a busy world.” – Unknown
  10. “Tea is the finest solution to nearly every catastrophe and conundrum that the day may bring.” – Unknown
  • Rich in Antioxidants: Helps keep your body away from oxidative stress.
  • Heart Health: May reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Weight Management: Green tea has been associated with weight loss and reduced body fat.
  • Mental Alertness: Caffeine in tea can improve brain function and alertness.
  • Digestive Aid: Herbal teas can help soothe the digestive system.
  • Stress Relief: Certain teas, like chamomile, are known for their calming effects.
  • Immune System Boost: Tea can bolster the immune system with its antibacterial properties.
  • Lower Cancer Risk: Some studies suggest that tea may lower the risk of certain types of cancer.
  • Bone Health: Regular tea drinking might be associated with stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis.
  • Hydration: Despite the caffeine content, tea is a hydrating beverage when consumed in moderation.

Tea offers an astonishing diversity, each with its own story and flavor profile. From the robust, malty notes of Assam black tea to the delicate, floral aroma of Chinese white tea, there is a variety to suit every palate. Green teas, like the Japanese Sencha, offer grassy freshness, while oolong teas strike a balance with their complex, sometimes fruity or woody characteristics. Herbal infusions, often not from the Camellia sinensis plant, also fall under the tea umbrella, providing caffeine-free alternatives. Each variety not only offers a unique taste experience but also reflects the culture and geography of its origin.

  • Masala Chai: A popular tea across India, made with a mixture of aromatic spices and herbs.
  • Kadak Chai: A strong tea often enjoyed in the western states of India.
  • Bombay Cutting-Chai: A half-glass portion of strong tea popular in Mumbai.
  • Kashmiri Kahwa: A traditional green tea preparation consumed in the Kashmir Valley, made with spices, nuts, and saffron.
  • Sulaimani Chai: A sweet and spiced version of black tea, a specialty in the Malabar region of Kerala.
  • Assam Tea: Known for its robust taste and dark color, enjoyed plain or with milk and sugar.
  • Darjeeling Tea: Known as the “Champagne of Teas,” appreciated for its delicate flavor and aroma.

India is a global leader in tea production, with a market size of US$ 11.1 billion in 2023, expected to reach US$ 14.7 billion by 2032. However, the industry faces financial challenges due to rising production costs. As the world’s largest tea consumer, India used nearly 30% of global tea output. Domestic consumption exceeded 1.16 billion kilograms in 2022, but per capita consumption remains stagnant at 750 grams annually. The tea market is evolving with the rise of premium brands, online retail, and tea cafés. Despite being a major player, India faces challenges for sustainable growth in the tea market.

As we conclude our celebration of International Tea Day, let’s reflect on the profound significance of this observance, honoring both the cultural heritage and economic vitality of tea. In this moment of tranquility, as we sip on the warmth of our favorite brew, let’s embark on a journey of enrichment for our minds and souls.

Immerse yourself in the timeless wisdom encapsulated within the pages of “Gyan Ganga” and the invaluable social guidance offered by “Way of Living.” These profound texts draw from a multitude of holy scriptures, offering us not only knowledge but also a path to spiritual fulfillment and salvation.

Much like the comforting embrace of tea, these texts guide us towards a life imbued with purpose and success. Let us embrace the serenity and wisdom found in the teachings of these sacred books written by Sant Rampal Ji Maharaj on this international tea day.

Is International Tea Day in May or December?

International Tea Day is observed annually on May 21, but it has also been celebrated on December 15 since 2005 in tea-producing countries.

Why is 15 December a tea day?

December 15 is a tea day to raise global attention to the impact of the global tea trade on workers and growers.

Who invented International Tea Day?

The idea of International Tea Day was discussed by the FAO Intergovernmental Group on Tea in 2015 and was subsequently adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2019.

Who is the founder of Tea Day?

The first International Tea Day was organized by the Centre for Education and Communication (CEC), India (Shatadru Chattopadhayay); Hind Mazdoor Sabha, India (Samir Roy); Indian National Trade Union Congress, India (Paramasivam); Institute of Social Development, Sri Lanka (P. Muthulingam); New Trade Union Initiative, India (M. Subbu); Red Flag Union, Sri Lanka (O. A. Ramaiha) and United Trade Union Congress, India (Ashok Ghosh) at the World Social Forum in January 2005.

When was the first International Tea Day?

The first International Tea Day was celebrated in New Delhi in 2005.

Is 21 September National Tea Day?

September 21 is celebrated as National Chai Day, not National Tea Day.

Who is the father of tea in India?

The father of tea in India is considered to be Maniram Dewan, the first tea planter in Assam.

What are tea lovers called?

Tea lovers are often referred to as tea enthusiasts or tea aficionados.

Which is the biggest tea garden in India?

The biggest tea garden in India is the Monabari tea garden in Assam.

Which is the tea capital of India?

The tea capital of India is Jorhat.

Which city is famous for tea?

The city famous for tea is Darjeeling.

Who brought tea to India?

Tea was introduced to India by the British East India Company.

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