Since our dear friend TheDevotea asked some of us to blog for Lady Devotea’s Birthday (something he called Lady Devotea’s Birthday Blog Bonanza whatever that might mean), I decided to postpone my usual blog posting and find a better topic that the one I had in mind, which I did quickly.
I know that I said that tea is not for women only but after thinking about it, there is still something that links together women and tea.
There is the obvious duo made by Catherine of Braganza and Anna Duchess of Bedford, both of them being famous all over the world.
There is the less known (at least for me) Penelope Baker, host of the Edenton Tea Party, an all women boycott without disguise (as they all signed a proclamation sent to a London newspaper). Those were heroes and they decided among other things not to buy British teas as long as the taxes were not cut.
But the link runs deeper than that and in fact, it goes back to China and the myths about some teas being plucked by virgins clad in white robes with gloves and stuff like that.
I don’t judge it as in every civilization, you find similar myths or ideas about the magical power given to herbs/food by such young women.
But even nowadays, you find more women working in the tea gardens when it comes to plucking (men working usually in the other areas of the tea gardens/factories) as they are said to have higher yield than men when it comes to tea and also because plucking is said to be an “easy” job as one doesn’t need much physical strength to do it.
Both these ideas created a kind of “fetishism” of the woman in the tea gardens, and they are truly the unsung heroes of the tea industry.
Just look all over the Internet for pictures of the plucking season and guess what you will see in most (and I do say most) countries?
These women are so clearly identified with tea that when the Tea Board of India decided to protect Darjeeling tea by creating a certification and a logo, guess what they went for?
DARJEELING logo © Tea Board of India