The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet discusses the Japanese and Chinese along with some of their traditions. One that I found particularly interesting was their tea customs. It was considered rude or disrespectful to pour your own tea. Someone else pours the tea for you and you pour for them. In Japan the preparation and consuming of tea has become an art form.
I love that something as common as pouring tea became a symbol of showing respect and graciousness. I feel those qualities are lacking in our society. Living in a fast paced, me-first world made me long for those small but kind traditions.
Just recently some of my fellow book babes and I were invited to a ladies only tea party. We had to dress up (hats, gloves and all!) and sit sipping tea and eating petite-sized treats. It was so nice to pretend to be a lady for the day. Displaying your best manners and attempting to be dainty was actually fun and relaxing. We stayed there for almost three hours enjoying each others company. It was like a mini time-out from this crazy mess we live in.
I just read in a book about etiquette for a tea party, to start a tea tradition in your own home. In the evening pull out your teapot and cups. Make a cozy nook and relax with your husband, kids, cat or book. Discuss the day or revel in the quiet but above all use your manners! While this isn't something I can do everyday, I definitely want to incorporate this in my life. The question is, would my husband enjoy it or feel like he's attending a little girls tea party? Hmm, there's only one way to find out.