Boston Tea Party
Photo by Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

As the U.K. battles over Brexit, France struggles with protests over fuel prices and America deals with, well, everything going on in Washington these days, it’s a good time to revisit one of the most infamous incidents of the American Revolution: the Boston Tea Party.

On Sunday, Dec. 16, the city will celebrate the 245th anniversary of the historic protest with reenactments, a parade and, of course, the dumping of tea into Boston Harbor. Ahead of this weekend’s celebration, here’s everything you need to know about the Boston Tea Party festivities.

What was the Boston Tea Party?

In case you skipped history class and need a quick refresher, here’s a brief rundown on what happened 245 years ago.

On Dec. 16, 1773, the Sons of Liberty – a group comprised of Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and other European colonist who fought against taxation by the British – decided to protest against the Tea Act of 1773 and the various taxes imposed by the Townshend Acts. Since the Sons of Liberty were all about "No taxation without representation,” they weren’t exactly fond of the British Parliament taxing the colonies and wanted to do something about it.


A group of demonstrators, including a few who tried to disguise themselves as Native Americans, boarded ships that night to destroy a shipment of tea from the East India Company, dumping it all in the Boston Harbor. As expected, Britain wasn’t happy with the protest, and the rising tensions led to the American Revolution.

How is the city celebrating the Boston Tea Party 245th anniversary?

In honor of the Boston Tea Party’s big anniversary, a number of festivities have been planned for Sunday.

At 6:30 p.m., a ticketed event will be held at the Old South Meeting House featuring a reenactment of the debate that lead to the Boston Tea Party. Guests are actually encouraged to lend their voices to the debate as well, so you can join in on the fun just like the colonial Patriots.

At 7:30 p.m., a free parade will take place, starting off at the Old South Meeting House and ending at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum on Congress St. Fife players, drummers and colonial re-enactors will lead the way along the same route that the Sons of Liberty took in 1773.

The festivities culminate at 8 p.m. with the destruction of tea in the harbor. Visitors are invited to line up along the shore to watch as re-enactors board the Brig Beaver ship to throw the chests of tea into the water. The event will be narrated, but don’t forget to cheer “Huzzah!” as the tea is tossed into the harbor.

Boston Tea Party 34th annivesary

Food and drink specials in honor of the Boston Tea Party 245th anniversary

A number of local restaurants and bars are celebrating the historic event with food and drink specials. Highlights include Harpoon Brewery, which has a special Boston Tea Party Ale on tap; L’Espalier, which has a five-course tea dinner special available on Sunday night; Shojo, which is offering an oolong tea-infused vodka cocktail for two; as well as Bon Me, which has a deviled tea egg special that’s soaked in black tea and topped with spicy mayo.

5 fun facts about the Boston Tea Party

Here are a few things you may not know about the historic event, courstey of Shawn P. Ford, executive director of the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.

1. 340 chests of British East India Company tea, weighing more than 92,000 pounds, were thrown into Boston Harbor.

2. The value of the tea thrown overboard in today’s dollars is approx. $1.5 million.

3. A couple hundred Colonial men (a.k.a. Patriots) were involved in the Boston Tea Party - America’s ‘original’ Patriots.  Sports reference:  Hence the name for our New England Patriots.

4. Five different blends of tea were thrown into the Harbor during the Boston Tea Party. All teas are still available today and can be purchased at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.

5. There were three ships that were involved in The Boston Tea Party, the Beaver, Dartmouth and Eleanor.  However, a fourth ship, the William, was also to have landed in Boston with tea from London's East India Company, however this ship ran aground off Cape Cod.

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