On the Seventh Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me
seven swans a-swimming, a symbol of love in many stories. And connected to royalty.
the Queen still technically owns all the swans in Great Britain, except for those in the Orkney Islands where the swans belong to the people. (Nugent 2016)
(So apparently the singer of the traditional carol is being courted by someone of the royal family if technically no one else can own swans??) Until the nineteenth century, swan was one of the meat dishes at royal feasts, including at Christmas (Nugent 2016).
A fitting tea for the seventh gift, then, would be an elegant white tea.
China Fancy, or White, Peony, with its delicate whole leaves and buds, is an example of “new style” Chinese white tea from Fujian Province.
Of all the types of tea produced, white teas are the least oxidized. Care is taken to not crush, roll, or bruise the buds and leaves because damage causes oxidation.
After plucking, the buds and/or leaves are withered so that moisture evaporates, and then they are dried.
Traditionally, white tea consists of Camellia senensis buds. Because these buds retain their minute hairs, they are silver in appearance. For “new style” white tea, young, open leaves are also plucked.
Fancy Peony is also called Pai Mu Tan. The bud tips are plucked in late March or early April.
The light-colored brew has a fresh aroma and a delicate flavor with notes of honey and flowers.
Like the graceful and stately swan, this tea is a true classic.
China Fancy Peony is available at TeaHaus.
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . .
Seven swans a-swimming
Six geese a-laying
Five golden rings
Four calling birds
Three French hens
Two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree
Source: Nugent, C. “On the seventh day of Christmas,” Hub Pages, December 23, 2016.