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Archive for May, 2012

A Brief History of Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea was started in the mid-1800s by Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford. .  At that time in history, only two meals were common; a mid-morning breakfast and a somewhat late evening dinner.  The Duchess found herself with a “sinking feeling” in the late afternoon, with the unacceptably prolonged period of time between lunch and dinner. The Dutchess decided to have some friends over for assorted snacks and tea – and the idea of an “afternoon tea” gathering became very popular among the elite, as well as a favorite pastime of “ladies of leisure”.

The Duchess ordered a few delicacies and some tea to be brought to her boudoir.  The assortment was placed on her low bedside table, and this became known as “Low Tea”.  As time went on, the Duchess wished to enjoy these delights with friends in a more social setting – and so the parlor became the venue for “Afternoon Tea”.

“High Tea” – an often misused term for Afternoon Tea/Formal Tea/Royal Tea could not be more different from these specific tea formalities. “High Tea” has nothing to do with “high society”, “upper class”, or “royalty”. It was actually a more hearty “supper style” meal that included meat between the bread (introduced by the Fourth Earl of Sandwich and thus the High Tea Sandwich), and happened to include tea, that was served in the late afternoon to the “working men” coming home VERY hungry from a hard day’s work.  This meal, like “Low Tea”, is so named, due to the height of the table on which it was served – to accommodate the height of the men who typically stood at the table or sat on high stools to feast. This late afternoon meal gradually became more important on the social calendars of Ladies and Gentlemen and was enjoyed prior to social events like attending the theater or playing cards. 

So….the next time you see a sign in a historically elegant and renowned hotel that says “High Tea” in the mid-afternoon, historically, it should offer assorted scones, fresh fruit, varietal teas, AND meat-filled sandwiches.  Otherwise, it is simply “Afternoon Tea” (a lighter affair). etc.  

On a quick note, “Royal Tea” or “Champagne Tea” simply mean a delightful addition of the bubbly to the occasion. 

 

The flag of the United States is a living symbol that calls to our spirit, reminding us of the greatness of America. We cherish and uphold it because it is the standard of honor under which we live.  The proper name of the nation’s symbol is the United States Flag; however, it is sometimes referred to as “Old Glory”.

Well, as many of you know, I just never tire of extolling the rules, regulations, respect and etiquette regarding the United States Flag, however, today, I’d like to focus on a few rules of etiquette regarding display…and behavior…if you are planning on attending any of the hundreds of military and celebratory Memorial Day weekend parades and events.

 

  1. According to www.usflag.org, on Memorial Day, the flag is to be flown at half-staff until noon, and then at full-staff until sunset.
  1. The flag should be down at sunset, unless you have it properly illuminated, in which case it may remain raised throughout the night.
  2. When raising the flag to half-staff, first raise it quickly to full-staff, then slowly down to half-staff.
  3. When flown or carried alongside other flags (such as state flags), The United States Flag should always be higher than the other flags.
  4. Flags on floats must be on a staff or against a wall (correctly oriented, with the union—the blue field of stars, to the left), not draped on the float.
  5. The United States Flag should never be draped over a vehicle of any kind.
  6. If display the flag on vehicles, the flag must be on a staff firmly fixed so that it will not fall over.
  7. “The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag’s own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.” (Title 36, Chapter 10 of the U. S.Code)
  8. “When used on a speaker’s platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman’s or speaker’s right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience.” (Title 36, Chapter 10 of the U.S. Code)
  9. Flags suspended over the street  should be suspended vertically with the union to the north on an east/west street or to the east on a north/south street.
  10. “During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present except those in uniform should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. Those present in uniform should render the military salute. When not in uniform, men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Aliens should stand at attention. The salute to the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.” (Title 36, Chapter 10).

I hope you will have a blessed and memorable Memorial Day weekend and that should you attend memorial services on sacred military burial grounds or enjoying a festive parade, that these few tips will help you to show the respect and honor deserving of our brave veterans. 

ps:  Don’t forget to bring your own miniature flag to wave in glory and/or to place on a military burial site as  needed.