Japan takes pride in its observation of many ceremonial preparations. One of this is the Japanese Tea ceremony which serves powdered green tea, confections, and a light meal. Tea ceremonies have been part of Japanese tradition since the 8th or 9th century.
China holds the distinction of having observed tea ceremonies much, much earlier. A monk who returned from a trip to China introduced the tea preparation style referred to as “tencha”. The said monk was also able to bring with him tea seeds which helped produced excellent quality of tea in Japan.
Buddhist monasteries were known to be the first place where green tea was used as part of religious rituals. It did not take long for the same tea to become associated to a desired status symbol of the warrior class. Eventually, tea became part of Japanese culture that emphasized spirituality, refinement, and restraint.
The traditional venue for Japanese tea ceremonies is a tatami-floored room although any other place where the host can make the tea in front of the guests will do. The traditional room ideally has a floor area of 4.5 with a low ceiling. There is usually an attached preparation area. Decorations are kept simple and minimal, creating a rustic feel for the tea drinkers to enjoy.
Tea ceremonies in Japan consider seasonality where variations are made in the ritual performed and the equipment used depending on the prevailing season. There are basic components for a tea ceremony including the chokin which is used to wipe tea bowls, the tea bowl itself, tea caddy, tea scoop, and the tea whisk. There are specific rituals that will have to be observed by the host and the guests. The art of calligraphy plays a role in the tea ceremony by providing the symbolism for the occasion.
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Posted January 25th, 2013 by Teresa Martinez+ | Comment (0)