Afternoon tea is a confection straight out of a Roman myth; conversation and delicate treats wrapping around the spindle of an afternoon tea stand, essential ingredients threaded into the warp and weft of Ariadne’s loom. Or some may say enjoying a few hours of afternoon tea somewhere like Cranley Hotel is just a lovely way to while away an afternoon with a good friend – one who you’ve explored some remarkable ancient places with.
I prefer to take the former and latter approach to life, so yeah. Call me extra if you will.
Also, that intro wasn’t as random as it looks – there are so many interesting of similarities in the commemoration of the birth of Christ and Dionysus between ancient and contemporary Greece. Looking at ancient Greek history and the traditions within, many modern customs have their roots in ancient Greece.
In December, the Ancient Greeks celebrated the birth of Dionysus, calling him “Savior” and divine “infant.” According to Greek mythology, his mother was a mortal woman, Semele, and his father was Zeus, the king of the Gods. The priest of Dionysus held a pastoral staff as did the Good Shepherd. On December 30, ancient Greeks commemorated his rebirth.
The most well-known custom throughout the Christian world is that Christmas carols that have roots deriving from ancient Greece. Specifically, Homer — during his stay on the island of Samos, along with a group of children — composed the carols. In ancient Greece, carols symbolized joy, wealth and peace, and the children sang the carols only in the homes of the rich. Children would go from house to house, holding an olive or a laurel branch adorned with wool (a symbol of health and beauty) and different kinds of fruits. The children brought the olive branch to their homes and hung it on the doors where it remained for the rest of the year.
Ancient Greeks also used to decorate the ancient temples with trees, symbolizing the divine gift offering. The Christmas tree tradition made its way to Greece in 1833, when the Bavarians decorated the palace of King Otto. Christmas trees symbolize the rejoicing of the birth of Jesus Christ – the tree was adorned first with fruits and later with clothes and other household objects.
Santa Claus, who travels around the world on Christmas Eve delivering gifts in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, is another interesting similarity. A similar tradition also existed during the celebration of Dionysus in ancient Greece – in following years the chariot transformed into a sleigh and horses transformed into reindeer.
Oh – and Ariadne married Dionysus – scholars have suggested that due to her thread-spinning and winding associations, that she was a weaving goddess. See, not so tenuous.
As for our afternoon tea in modern day times, it was a wonderful chance to spend time talking over such topics – that and a smattering of chatter about travel plans, celebrity news and what escape rooms we fancy doing in 2019.
The Cranley Hotel afternoon tea was nice, very simple and super purse friendly. Their team set us up, and let us chatter for hours which was lovely – but booking our time took a fair amount of effort on my part. That said, it was a lovely boutique hotel in a quiet Kensington mews – somewhere to go with someone who makes you smile.
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