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Every two years, an organization called Comic Relief puts on an event and it’s celebrated all over Britain. Comic Relief itself was created in 1985 by Richard Curtis after being inspired by Live Aid which addressed the Ethiopian famine. Mr. Curtis wanted to help people in both Africa and the UK, and thus Comic Relief was born. Live Aid used music to help people while Comic Relief uses comedy. The first Comic Relief was broadcast Christmas Day 1985, live from Sudan. Reception was well received, and donations came flooding in.
Three years later in 1988, the first Red Nose Day took place, raising a whopping £15 million thanks to 150 celebrities and comedians. Lenny Henry and a group of children in Ethiopia celebrated. The next year, another Red Nose Day took part and since then, Red Nose Day has taken place every two years. At first, there were just plain red noses being worn but over the years, there have been various versions of the red nose! Some of them have little faces, one has been fuzzy, one has even been a tomato!
The causes vary and so do the celebrities. The first time I heard of Comic Relief was when I was a teenager and was into Harry Potter. My sister bought me some books from a thrift store written by J.K. Rowling. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages were the books. The Comic Relief logo was plastered on them and I figured out it was a charity. I enjoyed the Quidditch book but I didn’t get a chance to read the fantastic beasts one because we were moving and it got lost.
Now why am I writing about Red Nose Day? It’s because the mascot of PG Tips, Monkey, is partnering up with the charity to take part! PG Tips is helping to raise up to £1 million by selling packs of tea. For every box of PG Tips sold in the UK, 8p will be donated from every specially marked pack. In addition to this, Monkey will be on a “monumental mission.” He is scaling the top of the shard!
For my British readers, if you drink PG Tips and are running low, do run to the shop and pick up a pack of PG! Help people all over the world and at home. And do something funny for Red Nose Day with your family and friends! Red Nose Day is not just for celebrities and big names, but also for the average person!
This year’s Red Nose Day is on March 13th, 2015. Don’t feel bad if you can’t donate from the States! There is a way Americans can help.
While searching online for tea I found the history of PG Tips. It is not everyday that a product such as tea has a unique story behind it. I do not know about you, but I find the history of how a business came about to be quite fascinating.
You see PG Tips began with an entrepreneur who opened his first shop in Manchester, United Kingdom in 1869. Mr. Arthur Brooke opened what we would call a modern day coffee house selling coffee, tea, and sugar. He had the fantastic idea to break the mold of other tea companies who were producing blended teas. Mr. Brooke produced pure, high-quality teas from India and China making his brand quite popular. Who would have thought being different and innovative could work?
Following Arthur Brooke’s influence of innovation and creativity, PG Tips launched a novel advertising campaign involving chimpanzees. At this time there were not many commercials aired in the United Kingdom. PG Tips hit gold with the campaign for the chimpanzees to be one of the longest running characters in British television advertising.
Another bit of the story is PG Tips produced the most expensive tea bag ever made. The tea bag was covered in 280 diamonds raffled off to raise money for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Okay, okay, I know-do not give away the entire story. Sit down with a cup of tea and check out the rest of PG Tips’ history.
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A classic entry originally published 01.23.2009
If you’ve been drinking tea awhile and have been exploring beyond the basic black, you’ve come across teas with “monkey” in their name. For example, there’s White Monkey Paw Green Tea and 100 Monkeys White Tea, both from China. This leads to the question: What Do Monkeys Have to Do with Tea?
Several things, actually.
First, legends about monkeys persist. Monkeys have been part of local legends in tea growing countries, especially India and China, and therefore a part of the world of tea. One Chinese legend is about how 1000 Day Flower Green Tea was created. The King of Monkeys was demoted for eating all the Empress’ ripe peaches and, to make up for it, learned from some sympathetic monks to sew tea leaves together in the shape of peaches. These pleased the Empress, who restored him to his regal position.
Also, the idea of monkeys actually picking tea leaves has persisted for quite a few centuries. The veracity of such claims is highly questionable in spite of a company selling a tea actually named “Monkey Picked Tea.” One story says that this idea came about from a “tall tale” that a Chinese tea grower told a visiting British writer in 1793 in reply to him asking how tea was picked. This was when the Chinese were still the only tea growers in the world and wanted to keep their tea secrets to themselves. Another story states that, monkeys being the great imitators of human behavior that they are, they began picking tea leaves as they saw monks and other humans around them doing.
Of course, monkeys and humans have had close relations for a long time. Monkeys are very imitative and can form close attachments with some humans they live near. Including them in the lore about something that humans like very much, such as tea, seems only natural.
In other instances, teas are named after how the processed leaves appear. Gunpowder tea is a well-known example, since the tightly rolled leaves look like tiny gun pellets. White Monkey Paw Green Tea is so named because the processed leaves are said to resemble monkey paws. Not sure I see that, but when you’ve just spent long hours processing tea, your eyes could start playing tricks on you.
Some Monkey Lore
India — The Hindu Monkey god Hanuman is said to be loyal, brave, devoted, strong, and dedicated to justice; he’s also connected to elements in nature (wind, thunder, and sun). As such, monkeys are generally revered for looking like, well, monkeys. Or should I say, like the monkey god?
China — The monkey god Sun-Wukong, also known as the Monkey King, was a trickster god (like the coyote to many American Indian tribes). A classic 16th-century novel, The Journey to the West (Xi You Ji or Hsi Yu Chi), has a monkey as its most popular figure, one that also occurs in opera and comic books in China.
Monkeys in the Chinese Zodiac
For people born in either 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, or 2004: You are intelligent and witty, and well-liked due to your extraordinary nature and magnetic personality. You tend to be opportunistic and distrustful of other people. You often have success in any field you try. (Good news for those of you growing, producing, selling, and enjoying tea.)
So, do monkeys really pick tea?
My research is inconclusive. There are a few tea vendors out there that swear they do. There are others who not only say they do not, but consider the label “monkey picked” demeaning to the hard-working humans who spend their days in the tea fields doing the actual picking. Still others claim that “monkey picked” refers to a top tier tea made from typically wild thicker leaves or rarer more precious leaves and buds.
Never mind. No matter which is true, monkey tea is “more fun than a barrel of…”
Fortunately, you can also buy tea accessories with monkeys on them (mugs, teapots, T-shirts, etc.). There is even a teapot to commemorate 2004, the “Year of the Monkey.”
Be witty. Steep up a potful of monkey tea. Then, sit back and sip the fun!
If you’d like to learn more about the stories behind tea, make sure to check out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!