The British culture has always been deeply intertwined with America. In recent years especially, the British culture has become increasingly popular, and the Headquarters Library has embraced this with a Downton Abbey-inspired tea party. The event takes place on Jan. 6. It promises to be fun — and educational, too.

When most people think of British High Society they picture top hats, monocles and extended pinkies while drinking tea. However, there is a lot more to the complex and regal culture of England’s wealthiest and most influential citizens. England has a rich history that stretches over centuries and all this history has shaped the country’s culture in enormous and complex ways.

Downton Abbey, which is the television show that has inspired this huge tea party, has been airing in America since 2011. It started originally in the United Kingdom in 2010. Downton Abbey is set in post-Edwardian era England in the aristocratic and fictional Yorkshire estate that gives the show its name. The focus of the series is the rich and influential Crawley family, and the people who serve them.

The series tackles many of the major historical events and accurately shows their effect on the British social hierarchy as well as their effect on the fictional Crawleys. Some of the historical events that are tackled throughout the different seasons are the sinking of the Titanic, the Spanish Influenza and, of course, World War I.

For anyone interested in learning about the British culture in the early 1900s, this downtown Downton Abbey tea party is the perfect place to be. One of the most defining and well-known aspects of British culture is their affinity for tea. To stick with the Downton Abbey theme, and to educate citizens on the traditions of the British high tea, the Headquarters Library will host a huge tea party that will provide citizens with an authentic English high tea experience. 01-02-13-downton-abbey.gif

There will be more to this gathering than Earl Grey and crumpets, however. The tea party will also offer an enlightening history lesson from Fayetteville State University History Department’s professor Brad Kadel.

Apart from the history, participants will be able to enjoy the traditional fare of this British tradition. Since the 1800s Britain has been the largest consumer of tea per capita. The tea traditionally enjoyed is a strong black tea with milk and sugar. Usually, scones are served with clotted cream and strawberry jam. The beverage is enjoyed in every class, but only the upper class experiences the delicate tea drinking ritual most often pictured. Most of the middle and lower classes enjoy tea in a mug; much like an American would enjoy their coffee.

Participants should come dressed in their “Downton best.” Reservations are required for the tea party. The tea party is from 3 to 6 p.m. at Headquarters Library in the Pate Room. The library is located at 300 Maiden Lane. For more information, call 483-7727.

Photo: British High Tea is making a come back and the Downtown Library is getting in on it by sponsoring a British High Tea Downtown Abbey style.

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