December is a time of celebration across the globe and a time when people gather over hot tea to toast each other, to soak up the nutrients of the leaf, to find light in the darkness and to release the old and welcome the new! Journey with us around the world to learn about traditions and customs in other cultures and the teas they drink to celebrate them.
12/13 - St. Lucia Day: Held in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Italy, St. Lucia Day is a celebration of lights to remember the martyr, St. Lucia, and is held on one of the darkest days of the year. Candles are lit to bring people enough light to last the winter through. In Nordic countries, St. Lucia buns are eaten, Mulled Wine is drunk and in Italy, wheat is planted to represent rebirth.
12/25 - Christmas: A tradition typically associated with North America, Christmas is actually celebrated, in some form or fashion, in 13 different countries. Most customs involve some type of gift-giving and giving to the poor, and all traditions celebrating with specialty foods and desserts.
Tea recommendation: Chai
12/26 - Boxing Day: Originating in the mid 19th Century under Queen Victoria, Boxing Day is celebrated in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other British Commonwealth countries. The Boxing Day custom began with tradesmen collecting their Christmas boxes or gifts in return for good and reliable service throughout the year.
12/26 -1/1 - Kwanzaa: An African-American celebration of life introduced in 1966 in the United States by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa is a ritual that welcomes the first harvests to the home.The name Kwanzaa is derived from matunda ya kwanza, a Swahili phrase for "first fruits," and is based on traditional African harvest festivals, combining customs from a number of different cultures. The 7 days of Kwanzaa represent 7 principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, collective work & responsibility, purpose, creativity and faith.
Tea Recommendation: Rwanda Rukeri White Needle
12/22-12/3 - Hanukkah:
The eight-day Jewish celebration known as Hanukkah or Chanukah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, Hanukkah, which means “dedication” in Hebrew. It begins on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar and usually falls in November or December. Often called the Festival of Lights, the holiday is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games and gifts.
1/1 - New Year:
- JAPAN: Omisoka New Year Families cleanse for the new year, clean the house, take a bath and enjoy some green tea. Also, families make long noodles, soba, by stretching and cutting dough to form long, thin strips. Eating them represents cutting away the old year’s misfortunes for a long and healthy life ahead.
- Hong Kong: Those in Hong Kong pray to the gods and ghosts of their ancestors, asking that they will fulfill wishes for the next year. Priests read aloud the names of every living person at the celebration and attach a list of the names to a paper horse and set it on fire. The smoke carries the names up to the gods and the living will be remembered.
Tea Recommendation: Iron Goddess of Mercy