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The Role of Tea in Ancient Sri Lankan Society

The Role of Tea in Ancient Sri Lankan Society
The Role of Tea in Ancient Sri Lankan Society

Tea has been an integral part of Sri Lankan culture for centuries. From the colonial era to present day, tea has played a major role in Sri Lankan society and culture. Ancient Sri Lankans have consumed tea both as a beverage and as a medicinal herb, with many traditional remedies containing elements of tea.

In the 16th century AD, Portuguese explorers introduced coffee to Sri Lanka and it was quickly adopted by locals. Tea became popular among the upper classes due to its exquisite taste and is said to even be served at royal banquets during this time period. The Dutch established large plantations in Colombo and Kandy which were dedicated solely to producing tea for export purposes. This period marks the beginning of what is now known as the Sri Lankan tea industry.

Tea production was an integral part of the economy during the British colonial period, with tea plantations becoming more widespread and their output increasing significantly. During this time, most of the tea produced in Sri Lanka was exported to Europe where it gained a great deal of fame. This helped put Sri Lanka on the map and eventually earned it the title “Ceylon Tea” which is still used today.

Today, tea holds a special place in Sri Lankan culture as it is seen both as a beverage that can be enjoyed with friends and family and also as an important export commodity which brings much needed revenue into the country's economy. Tea has always been seen by locals not just as a drink, but as a medicinal herb that can be used to treat various ailments.

In traditional Sri Lankan society tea was viewed as an important part of hospitality and it was offered to visitors in both homes and temples. It was also seen as a way to show respect when visiting someone’s home or attending special occasions such as weddings or funerals. In addition to this, tea has been used in the preparation of many dishes such as rice cakes, curries and sweets.

Tea is still very popular among the people of Sri Lanka with some studies estimating that over 80% of all households consume tea on a daily basis. Tea production remains one of the most important elements of the country’s economy and there are a variety of different types that are produced in various regions. With its long and rich history, tea continues to be an integral part of Sri Lankan society.

Tea has long played an important role in Sri Lankan culture and society from the days of Portuguese explorers to the present day. It has been associated with hospitality, respect and medicinal benefits for centuries and remains one of the most important elements in the country’s economy. As such, it is clear that tea still holds a special place in Sri Lanka’s culture and will continue to do so for years to come.


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