International tea day is an annual celebration on May 21. It is coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. International tea day is a new event, introduced in a resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 December 2019 and first celebrated in 2020.
An important drink
People have been drinking tea for thousands of years. Archeological evidence indicates that possibly as long as 5000 years ago humans were placing tea leaves in hot water and drinking it in the area of the globe that is now China.
In old Folk stories Shen Nung, a Chinese Emperor, is claimed to be the first person to taste tea. These stories say that 5000 years ago he was sat under a tree with a cup of hot water when a leaf fell from the tree into his cup. This discovery of tea then spread around the globe.
An important mission
International tea day has a bigger mission than simply promoting tea. According to the original resolution the day also champions the "sustainable production and consumption of tea and raise[s] awareness of its importance in fighting hunger and poverty".
The tea industry is economically extremely important in some of the world’s poorest countries, but consumption is fairly low in many of the countries where it is grown. In addition, tea consumption is declining in countries which traditionally imported a lot of tea. This presents problems for the countries which depend economically on this cash crop. International tea day was started to raise awareness of the dilemmas and challenges that are faced by these countries that produce tea.
International tea day raises awareness of the importance of this crop, and promotes sustainable tea growing through a number of initiatives across the global. To educate people on the vital role of the tea industry the Food and Agriculture Organization have created publications and hosted online ceremonies where people can learn and celebrate together.