Chai Pots

Relationship: Im/migrant

These chai pots have been in my family for about 20 years. To the unfamiliar eye they may seem to be simply worn out silverware, but to me they represent the hospitality and respect my family opens their home with. In fact, not a person passes my home without having chai and desserts served to them. It is the Arab way of embracing guests into one’s home.As you can see these pots are not in top condition. The handle is slightly burned off, the lid is broken, and the insides are discolored from overuse. Yet, still, they endure. They serve not only to make chai, but to remind us of peaceful days in Lebanon.The pots take me back to warm family gatherings under vividly bright stars and the moon, with a gentle breeze moving across the dark night. The conversation is loud, the kids are still playing around, and the occasional blast of music from late night cafes fills the air. And at the center of such gatherings is always a glass of chai in everyone’s hand. The chai pots are centerstage.Although its preparation differs from country to country, tea unilaterally unites communities. It is the drink that calls for gatherings, keeps people awake, and rejuvenates the spirit. These chai pots represent a huge part of my family as they not only evoke decades of family memories, but also call upon centuries of traditions across the Arab world.

Place(s): Lebanon
Year: 2001

– Jana Taoube

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant