Welcome to Virtual Tea, a dedicated time where I stop and take time for tea, a wonderful English tradition. Spring has officially arrived, and I have a new family of robins setting up house in the bird’s nest outside my office window. Spring is a time of birth, renewal and Easter.
This week Christians around the world are celebrating Easter. A moveable feast, Easter occurs the First Sunday after the Full Moon following the Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. Just check a calendar, it’s much easier.
Marking the end of Lent, Holy Week leads to Good Friday which commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ who died for our sins on the cross. On Easter Sunday we celebrate his resurrection. Easter is also linked to the Jewish Passover by symbolism and where it falls on the calendar. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, but decorating Easter eggs is a common motif.
In the Western world, Easter takes on secular customs, such as egg hunts and the Easter bunny. The English tradition of wearing new clothes at Easter would have been gleefully followed by the women of Downton Abbey, although I am not so sure about the Dowager. The Easter Bonnet, made famous by Judy Garland in Irving Berlin’s Easter Parade is the last of this tradition, which was to keep in harmony with the renewal of the year and the promise of spiritual renewal and redemption.
About Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea is a wonderful tradition started by the Duchess of Bedford in the Victorian Era. To learn more about tea, what to serve and how to host your own tea, check out my book Relaxing over Afternoon Tea.
- April Fools: On Sunday the Telegraph reported that X Factor’s Simon Cowell would be making a cameo appearance on Downton. Strange, particularly since his only acting credit is a voice over on The Simpsons. Fortunately this turned out to be an April Fool’s prank. The Dowager would not have been amused.
- Videos: Downton Paper Pals: So it has come to this in the Downton Off Season, watching paper doll pantomimes on YouTube. Actually this one is in pretty good taste. Follow the link to the 3 part series on my YouTube playlist.
- Videos: Dollhouse Downton. If dollhouses are more your cup of tea, this is a delightful production brought by Grace and Tanvi, who apparently still like to play with their little stuffed animals. A link to my Dollhouse Downton playlist on YouTube. Great fun. Just in time for Easter, lots of bunnies; I love Daisy and Mrs. Patmore as hedge hogs.
- Books: The Countess of Carnarvon is on a book tour to promote her wonderful book, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, outlining the true story of the Lady behind Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey is filmed. Once I finish the book, I hope to provide an intelligent review. Again, another project for the Downton Down Time.
- Lady Ellen’s Excellent English Adventure: Speaking of Lady Carnarvon’s speaking tour, stay tuned for the tale of the American who attended one of her Ladyship’s luncheons at the luxury UK hotel Tylney Hall, just down the road from Highclere. Not only did Ellen travel from Boston to the UK to attend the lunch, but was personally introduced to her Ladyship by the hotel organizers, and treated like royalty while she was there. Making a stir as the “American” who attended the luncheon, Lady Ellen will be providing us with summary of her whirlwind trip, and Tylney Hall also promises to provide us with a lovely recipe from their kitchens.