Russian Tea Party
Bank Holiday Monday is just past and it left me with a wonderful subject to write about as we had a Russian Tea Party!
As I assured people we invited ‘Don’t worry everyone Russian drinking traditions does not include hours of standing on your head whilst slurping various weird teas made out of what looks like weeds.. or does it?’ Here is actually what was involved with our sun warmed party in the garden;
My sister-in-law being Ukrainian came up with the idea of a Russian tea party when I suggested it would be nice to have an alternative to the usual UK bank holiday BBQ. Her friend was coming for a holiday arriving on the Friday, perfect timing really and she could bring with her some special tea! So plans were afoot.
Firstly there was a massive amount of tidying and cleaning on my part, and also the garden to organise. Having a builder/gardener live at the house inevitably means that beautiful slabs of stone, wheel barrows, wood and various other objects are stored in any available space.
More sweeping and chairs and tables and voila we have space!! So what to fill it with? Ahhh well this is where Alexandra had a trick or two up her sleeve, she brought out an amazing looking silver urn type thing.. it is filled with boiling water and has a place for your chosen tea pot to sit.
Then Seveta who had just flown in, surprised us with not only tea, but a bag full of goodies.
Traditional Ukrainian biscuits on beautiful ribbons, sweeties and special cake were all brought for us to enjoy. This was laid out on a table in the shade of the garden surrounded by the loveliest folk looking table cloths, Russian dolls and decorated eggs!
The special cake and eggs were a nod to the fact that only two days before was the official Ukrainian Easter. They would take these incredible looking eggs to the church along with other food and the priest would bless it with holy water then they would go home and feast using the boiled eggs like we might do with conkers as a game and then once they are smashed they would dip the boiled eggs in salt and eat them together.
All is ready people arrived and tea severed with the question ‘lemon and sugar?’ rather than milk and ‘would you like some pirrogie?’ rather than would you like some pizza. Most of all it was just super fun to share this culture with people sitting in the sunshine with forget-me-nots and daffodils all around. A cup of tea, or a delicacy of salmon caviar on crackers for those brave enough.
As it got darker lights were lit and all was right with the world.
My thought in all this was how blessed am I to be part of other’s cultures, to learn their traditions and to enjoy new experiences!
Also what came to mind is why do we, the Brits seem to have such a hostile feeling towards those who live amongst us. I dare not go into immigration policies and politics now but for those internationals who are already here there is much that could be enriching in embracing them and not just in receiving their culture but in sharing ours!