Reading 9-11 класс (1)
Всероссийская олимпиада школьников по английскому языку 2017–2018 уч. г.
Школьный этап. Москва.
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For the first time four pounds of tea were brought to Russia in 1638 by the Russian ambassador as a gift from the Mongol Khan for the Russian sovereign of Moscow Michael Fyodorovich. At first the tsar and the boyars were not particularly impressed with the astringent and bitter drink. When all the tea presented by the Mongol Khan had been drunk and the Moscow court began to forget its taste, it was once again the diplomats who reintroduced tea to Russia. Another Russian ambassador Nicholas Spafary brought some tea from China. This time tea was already a known substance in Moscow and in 1679 a contract was entered into with China under which the Chinese were to supply Russia with dried tea. After that, caravans carrying tea began regular journeys from the Great Wall of China to the
walls of the Moscow Kremlin.
However, the new beverage took quite some time to grow on Russians, who at first viewed it with suspicion as they did with everything that originated abroad. In addition, Chinese tea was too expensive while Russian herbal teas, such as cranberry, currant, briar, and sweet lime were always easy to get. And it was only by the early 18th century that tea had been fully accepted in Russian households and become a national drink.
An indispensable component of a Russian tea party is the samovar. Samovars are tea poetry; they come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. Many of them are true works of art. A samovar is always placed in the middle of the table. It commonly has curved shapes suggesting warmth and kindness. While water is boiling inside the samovar and smoke is coming off the top of it, its sides reflect the people around the table, adding a surreal feel to the gathering. Samovars are usually heated up using charcoal and sometimes even fir cones. The slightly bitter aroma of the smoke relaxes and soothes those present. In addition to good looks and efficiency, samovars were always valued for their sound. When the water starts boiling a samovar would announce it with its own unique “song” that would add to the cosiness and intimacy of the occasion.
When you’re invited for tea in Russia, you can almost always expect to eat. Guests are offered several types of jam, honey, cakes, pies, chocolates and other sweets. Often you also get sandwiches, light salads, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Everything is served on ornate plates and dishes.
It is almost an insult not to offer tea to someone who came by your house, as it is an insult to refuse it when offered. In some parts of the former Soviet Union,especially in the North Caucasus region and Central Asia, the amount and quality of the food served when drinking tea indicates a level of respect that a host has for a guest, and it’s not uncommon for relationships to go sour just because only jam and sugar were served during tea.
There is a story about how in 1802 Prince Shakhovskoy met J.W. Goethe in a hotel in Munich. The famous German poet invited the Prince for tea. Having arrived and seeing that there was nothing but tea on the table, the Prince ordered sandwiches and some pastries without further ado. The two spent a most pleasant evening talking about German and Russian literature. To Shakhovskoy’s surprise, the next day he got a bill for the food he had ordered, which J.W. Goethe refused to pay, since he had only invited the Prince for tea.
There is another tradition that foreigners often fail to understand: Russians drink tea from glasses, which they put in special glass holders. This tradition dates back to the 17th and 18th century teahouses and it was only in the early 19th century that it was picked up by the commoners. Expensive glass holders were usually made from silver, the more commonplace glass holders were made primarily from alloys of nickel and silver. The finely decorated holders were used both for esthetic and practical purposes preventing the palms from direct contact with hot tea. Today almost nobody will drink tea from glasses at home and yet it has still survived on trains. It is a special unique kind of pleasure to drink hot tea from a glass in a glass holder sitting in the car of a long distance train and looking out at the landscapes speeding past outside!
- Tea and coffee are equally favoured by the Russian people.
- Russians indulge in having tea whenever the opportunity affords itself.
- The Russians instantly favoured the peculiar flavour of the new beverage.
- Envoys introduced the new beverage to Russia twice.
- Tea drinking gradually evolved into a kind of social ceremony.
- The Russian samovar was a symbol of prosperity, well-being, and comfort.
- Water in samovars is boiled ahead of time and just warmed up afterwards.
- Glass holders were made to help the tea cool quicker.
- For the Japanese the idea of having tea parties in Russia seems
- The word “incessant” in the first paragraph means
- The Russians did not welcome the new drink as
- they were forced to drink it.
- it took long to make it.
- it was totally alien to them.
- In the North Caucasus region and Central Asia
- sour fruit and vegetables are commonly served during the tea party.
- lavish snacks are served at the tea party if the guest is highly honoured.
- traditionally only jam and sugar are served during the tea party.
- Samovars placed in the middle of the table usually
- warmed the water quicker and more economically.
- helped gather the guests by their special “song”.
- added to the calming atmosphere round the table.
- The story about Prince Shakhovskoy's meeting with J.W. Goethe
- demonstrates Russian hospitality and generosity.
- illustrates the different national tea-drinking habits.
- shows a way to build cross-cultural connections over a cup of tea.
- The tradition of having tea from glasses in glass holders
- is completely forgotten now.
- has survived on railroads.
- has become a family tradition.