As we all know, I never criticise anyone or anything*, but I keep seeing stories about “National Hot Tea Month” and I get rather annoyed.
Let’s tackle just some of the issues.
Firstly, in these internetty days, “National” is a nonsense. Stop using it for “Days”, “Months” or “Weeks”. It gives no context. Use the name of the country instead. For example, “NATIONAL Don’t Get Bitten By A Lemur Day” makes no sense if you live in New Zealand, whereas if it were called “MADAGASCAN Don’t Get Bitten By A Lemur Day” you can see that the danger of failing to achieve the aims and objectives of the day are more challenging to Madagascans.
Okay, so I may have made that one up, but it’s a valid point. Promulgators of “Days”, “Months” or “Weeks” need to use a country name, or “International”, or nothing.
- January 13th is INTERNATIONAL Skeptics Day (it really is. Trust me. Or don’t). That works.
- Today (January 10th) is Houseplant Appreciation Day. That also works.
- January 12th is National Pharmacists Day. RED ALERT, THEY ARE DOING IT WRONG!. For starters, there is a chain in Australia called “National Pharmacies”. How are they going to feel when half their staff take a day off after misunderstanding a Facebook Post?
You’ll note that my birthday (April 8th, start preparing now) has been known since 2010 as International Lord Devotea Day, so I do practice what I preach.
Let’s move on to the next issue: Awareness/Appreciation Days are more properly saved for life threatening illnesses or major issues. In Australia, here are the weeks we have gazetted nationally:
- Australian Heritage Week
- NAIDOC Week (supporting indigenous people and their culture)
- National (sorry) Science Week
- National (sorry) Child Protection Week
- National (sorry) Literacy and Numaracy week
- National (sorry) Skills Week
- and as a bonus: “Safe Work Australia Month”
So, are we really elevating the drinking of tea, hot or otherwise, to the same degree of importance as the protection of children?
And while we are at it: a whole month? Kidney Disease gets a week. Diabetes gets a week. The United Nations International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples Struggling against Racism and Racial Discrimination is only a week! Yet some clowns somewhere – and I think the US Tea Council may be the aforementioned clowns, although I note that the Canadians have also got into the act – have decided “Hot tea” deserves a whole month.
So, having tackled “National” and “Month”, let’s back up to “Hot”.
Who the bloody hell are the US Tea Council to decide that January is the best time for their shabbily-named event? Outside my house, the ambient temperature right now is one that you could brew an oolong at**. And furthermore, I want to live in a world where every man, woman and child can drink tea at whatever temperature they wish, without their choices being questioned.
Brace yourself, people. Brace yourself for a whole slew of articles, selling people on the benefits of drinking tea: You’ll live to 126, you will lose 27% of your body mass, you will win the lottery, you will grow three extra teeth and become irresistible to your preferred gender.
But really, why should we be concerned about people who don’t drink tea? Do we need to proselytise? Are we tea drinkers or some sort of Tea Witnesses? Do we want to knock on people’s doors and share the Good News about Tea?
So, I urge you all to share this: Let’s put the genie back in the box. Let’s acknowledge that there is no month for tea, hot or cold. It’s every day, rain, hail or shine. Do we have a Breathing Week? Do we have a Hydration Month? No. The only thing that I associate months with is astrology, and I’d like to think we want to aim for more credible associations.
EVERY day is Tea Day. Every day you need to consider: Do I have sufficient tea? Have I made enough lovely cups of tea to show my love for those around me? Is there any way I can share the tea love?
Perhaps we could have an “International Tea For The Homeless Week”. Or “Donate Some Tea to The Needy Day”. Or hold afternoon teas to raise money for cancer research.
But “National Hot Tea Month”? They can stick it where the sun don’t shine.
And furthermore, I note that there is a “National Iced tea Month” slated for six months time. You have been warned.
(Note: I am not deriding all those tea vendors, tea bloggers and tea drinkers who are using the alleged ‘National Hot Tea Month’ as a means to promote tea drinking. Far from it. But hey, people, what if we all got together and demanded the declaration of “Universal Millennium For The Consumption of Tea at a Non-Specified temperature”? That’s far more like it)
*I thought I’d start with a joke.