Afternoon Tea etiquette
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In preface to my article Etiquette Faux Pas and Other Misconceptions About Afternoon Tea, I would like to clarify the distinctions between the classification of class status, etiquette, social protocols, morals, and ethics as per the dining/afternoon tea experience.
Etiquette and social protocols are not synonymous with morals or ethics. One has nothing to do with the other. A perfectly well mannered person may not have any morals, whilst in reverse a highly ethical person may not have the command of any social graces.
In addition, the term high class or upper class is often confused with one's economic/financial status.
In particular, during the Victorian Era, the upper class was not a social state one could achieve by economic measures. One was born into the upper class. The Victorian upper class represented a status of birthright that included ancestral lineage, where one received one's education and how one behaved and was received within a certain social circle. Many a famous author has chronicled the trials and tribulations of the "impoverished upper class".
Perhaps in today's modern times of the twenty-first century, the term upper class has transformed to become an identifying marker associated with one's economic/financial status. For the purpose of relating the protocols and etiquette of afternoon tea, all references apply to the Victorian era from whence afternoon tea was born.
Please note, the etiquette and protocols explained are not the rules of Ellen Easton, but the rules of foundation as created and passed down from the Victorian era.
As an example, the term "pinkies up" is just that, terminology. It does not mean that one should hold one's pinkie up in the air. If one reads the explanation carefully, one will learn the correct manner in which one holds one's teacup.
If one were to ask me my definition of the term class, I would have every hope that true class transcends one's economic status, race, creed and color. My definition of class is to be well mannered, considerate and to treat all others with dignity.
Afternoon tea was created to foster friendship. May all of your afternoon's always be filled with good tea and good friends.
Tea Etiquette Faux Pas