International Tea Day 2020: All you need to know about occasion promoting ethical and sustainable production of tea
Indian tea was first shipped to London in December 1838 and was auctioned at India House in January 1839
International Tea Day is observed in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda and Tanzania on 15 December. The first International Tea Day in India was held in Delhi in 2005.
In 2015, the government of India proposed to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation to expand International Tea Day across the world. Subsequently, the United Nations General Assembly decided to designate 21 May as International Tea Day to promote and foster collective actions to implement activities in favour of the sustainable production and consumption of tea.
While Sri Lanka too started celebrating International Tea Day in 2006, it was only in 2019 that the United Nations combined tea days in several countries into one single day.
Tea or chai has its root in the Mandarin word cha. The Chinese had been drinking tea for thousands of years and the beverage was brought to the rest of the world by Dutch merchants during their trips to the Far East during the 17th century. The beverage became popular as a medicine, before becoming an exotic drink.
In 1788, The Royal Society of Arts began deliberating on the idea of transplanting tea saplings to India and in 1824, tea saplings were discovered in Assam by Robert Bruce and Maniram Dewan. This led to expansion of tea plantations across Assam and Darjeeling.
Indian tea was first shipped to London in December 1838 and was auctioned at India House in January 1839. However, it was only after World War I that Indian and Eurasian vendors started selling tea at railway stations of Bengal, Punjab and Frontier provinces.
International Tea Day focuses on promoting better trade practices and working conditions as well as ethical and sustainable production of tea. The day also aims towards raising awareness on the importance of tea in fighting poverty and hunger.
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