Dear readers: This new format let’s us open up discussion topics to just about anything of interest to tea lovers (which can range from those folks who like their daily cuppa to those who live a full “tea life” where tea is in their thoughts and deeds every moment of the day). So, let’s dive into some lesser known holidays/events to toast with your teacup (no matter what style it is or what tea is in it)!
True tea lovers certainly need no reason to break out the accoutrements and prepare some of that wondrous liquid. However, once prepared, tea makes a most excellent beverage with which to toast occasions both special and trivial. To start off the new year, you had your celebration at the stroke of midnight and most likely spent the first day of the year getting “back to normal” (if there is such a thing). Here are an additional 10 super and possibly lesser known things to toast in January:
1. January 3rd (always)
Fruitcake Toss Day — Some say this date traces back only as far as 1995, but that is probably just when the date became official. Tossing fruitcakes is a time-honored tradition dating back to the first known ones. Here’s a great article about their history.
As for all that tossing, it is a figure of speech. You actually don’t have to toss the fruitcake – you can just pop over to a friend’s house (not a really close friend, since they might not be after your visit) with that fruitcake (be sure they aren’t the ones who gave it to you in the first place) and just “happen” to leave it behind (hidden in the back of a cupboard or the pantry in their kitchen to be discovered when you are safely out of reach). Of course, you could do what some do and actually have a fruitcake toss – it’s sort of like those pumpkin tosses, and you can use those same catapults and slings, since fruitcake is even harder and denser!
If you are sneaky enough to simply pass along that fruitcake, the unfortunate recipient has to keep it in the freezer until next Christmas.
This is all a bit of fun, of course. Well-made, fresh fruitcakes are actually a real treat, full of tasty, healthy fruits and nuts. Fruitcakes scorned by one person can be a real treat to another, and you can freeze fruitcakes for months or even longer. Great teas to toast that fruitcake with are black teas with rich flavors.
- Assam TGFOP – a jammy malty caramelly flavor that stands up to milk and fruitcake!
- Shu Pu-erh – earthy, rich, smooth, and never bitter, this style of tea has been “fermented” (actually, not alcoholic, just an aging that breaks down the leaves more and neutralizes the tannins that can produce bitterness); infuse it light or strong, and you can do several infusions from the same tea leaves.
- Some Keemun – a lightly smoky character, like a paler Lapsang Souchong, that will combine well with the fruitcake flavors.
- Black Ceylon tea – the good ones have a wonderful raisiny quality that is great straight when steeped up a bit lighter or heavenly with sugar and milk when steeped up nice and strong.
Tip: for lighter tea, use less dry tea leaves; for stronger tea, use more dry tea leaves.
2. January 5th (always)
National Bird Day — While this is not an officially declared holiday, it is certainly a good date as Winter progresses to remember these flighty and delightful creatures. Take a few minutes to watch and observe birds, as well as to feed them. While you don’t want the birds to become dependent on you, providing some seed once a week or so will have them thinking that they discovered a bit of bounty but not expecting it every day. While this day was set up to oppose keeping birds as pets, personally, it is no different from having a cat, dog, snake, hamster, or other pet – that is, it depends on you. Be a good and caring pet owner, and your bird will live a longer, healthier, and undoubtedly more contented life. But also enjoy those birds in the wild and that flit about your house. Beware of when they are nesting nearby and try to steer around those areas. Above all, keep that camera or pair of binoculars handy for a better look at their fine plumage and other features.
Of course, a hot cup of tea in hand while you watch is always good. Pick one of your favorites for a most pleasurable experience.
3. January 8th (always)
Bubble Bath Day — Today is the time to enjoy a warm and soothing bubble bath. Most likely, it was created by someone who needed to relax after a tough day. And it is an indulgence that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. For kids, it’s play time with all those lovely bubbles tickling their noses and hiding Mr. Duckie. For adults, it’s soothing pleasure. How you enjoy your bubble bath depends upon your age and temperament. For kids, just fill the tub with bubbles and toys – they’ll handle things from there. For the ladies, set the mood with candles around the tub, add music playing softly, fill the tub with bubbly water, hop in, and enjoy the soothing water and bubbles. (Psst! This works for guys, too!)
Get those bubbles going, soft music playing, and plenty of candles glowing around the tub. And having a pot of tea handy to sip on while you soak will be the crowning touch. Which tea you choose would be determined by the scent of your bubble bath mix. For example, a lavender scented bath might go best with a nice green tea such as Dragon Pearls.
4. January 13th (or October 13th or first Friday the 13th of the year)
International Skeptics Day — The perfect day for those “doubting Thomas” types! Actually, a healthy dose of skepticism keeps the snakeoil salesman and that pesky Brooklyn Bridge salesman from pulling the wool over your eyes. By definition, a skeptic is a person who questions or doubts facts and theories. He, or she, does not accept the “Given” and is much less likely to be duped. Want to be one? Check out this list: Skeptical Organizations – there are skeptics groups all over the world.
I think I need proof that this is a real holiday. I mean, c’mon, anybody can make up anything these days. But this tea I’m drinking is really good. And I can prove it!
5. January 15th (always)
National Hat Day — Hats aren’t as common in fashion as they once were, but there are still plenty from which to choose. And National Hat Day is the time to sport a few as you go about your business (or pleasure). They are stylish, useful, and can be used to express your thoughts on various subjects (such as supporting a favorite sports team or political candidate). They come is all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles, with one (or many) to fit every size head and personality. Some claim that more body heat is lost from your head than other parts of the body. So, wearing a hat goes a long way towards staying warm on a cold winter’s day (or night).
Hat wearing and tea enjoyment go together quite well. Hats used to be part of dressing up for tea time, and for some they still are. So, put on your hat and head out to the local tea room.
6. January 18th (always)
Thesaurus Day — Celebrates the birthday of (Peter Roget, was born on this day in 1779), the author of Roget’s Thesaurus. The Thesaurus lists synonyms (words with the same or similar meaning) and antonyms (words with opposite meaning). This book became a trusted reference soon after its first publication, and has remained so ever since. Students and writers use it to improve the quality of their work and avoid repetition.
A small observation: It always seems like people have a lisp when saying “thesaurus” properly. And then they end up spitting tea all over the place. The problem of trying to talk and drink at the same time. So avoid doing that. And we don’t want to hear another word about it. Hee!
7. January 24th
Full Moon — Full moons light up the sky with reflected but softened sunlight. If you have a deck or patio or nice spot of lawn where a table can be set up, you can have the most lovely moonlight tea time. If the weather is chilly, bundle up with coats and scarves and gloves. You can serve your tea in an insulated carafe or set your teapot on a warmer stand with a little tealight candle lit below it. Any tea will do here, so select a favorite and include foods that you can pick up with gloved fingers.
8. January 25th (always)
Opposite Day — “I hate tea and think that scones are the worst thing ever.” Don’t worry – it’s Opposite Day! Everything you say, do, see, and hear are the opposite. Left is right, up is down, good is bad, and so on. Fun…and confusing! The day’s origin is unknown, with a few references scattered here and there:
- casual reference to President Calvin Coolidge in the 1920’s
- mentioned in Alice in Wonderland, so this day may originate from the 1800’s
Whatever the origin, be sure you really know what someone means on this date when he or she tells you “No thanks” to an offer of tea!
9. January 28th (always)
National Kazoo Day — Celebrating a musical instrument that, like the accordion and whistling, is a pleasure when played skillfully but that rarely is. The kazoo originated in the 1840s. The idea came from Alabama Vest of Macon Georgia and was made by Thaddeus Von Clegg, a German clock master, per Vest’s specifications. Commercial production began in 1912, starting in Western New York. Emil Sorg joined with Michael McIntyre, a Buffalo tool and die maker. Eventually, they moved their production to Eden, NY, where the factory museum remains today.
Play a few tunes while your tea is steeping. A bit of John Philip Sousa would be good here. March around the kitchen until the water boils.
10. January 30th (always)
National Inane Answering Message Day — An inane message is senseless or meaningless, or a prank. Or, it could be insane – it all depends on your own personal perspective. This date is in recognition of those pre-recorded messages we endure before we get to leave the callee our message (it’s annoying enough that they didn’t answer the call) or the inane message we leave for that callee as an expression of our annoyance. Either way, it is intended to get folks to be a bit better in their messages either way. This is actually a copyrighted holiday, created and provided by the annoyed folks at Wellcat.com.
Here’s a really useful outgoing message (what you callers will hear when they try to reach you): “At the sound of the beep, hang up and go steep some tea, ’cause that’s what we’re doing so we won’t be checking messages on this machine for a few hours at least. *BEEP!*”
In every month, be sure to toast birthdays and anniversaries of any of your loved ones. And even celebrate such events of major importance as the arrival of that latest order of teas. Get those teacup clinking.
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