According to legend, tea was discovered by Shennong, a legendary ruler of China, who was known as one of the Three Emperors 5,000 years ago. He ate a kind of weed and found this plant could clear the toxins that remained in his intestines. This antidotal plant was tea.
When it comes to the Chinese culture, we can’t ignore the importance of tea. Tea culture not only includes tea production, tea brewing, tea art and ceremony, but also contains aesthetic value and traditional Chinese philosophy. It is associated with literature, art, Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. In the Tang Dynasty, when Buddhists were meditating, they found tea could relieve drowsiness and clear the mind. Therefore tea drinking was promoted and became an artistic enjoyment among the imperial family and the public. Most temples and monasteries began to plant tea themselves. From then on, along with Buddhism, tea art was brought to Japan as well as other countries in the world.
The bride and broom should serve their parents a cup of tea to show gratitude at the wedding ceremony. And their parents will give them an auspicious red envelope.
Before the Song Dynasty, people used to put tea into a pot filled with water and cook it. And then the traditional tea cooking was gradually replaced by the tea competition. People put powdered tea leaves in a cup and poured hot water down from high up, brewing the tea in the process. In tea tasting people brought their own tea and water and judged the quality of teas by checking the color and foam of the water. During the North Song Dynasty, tea competitions were widespread and brought to Japan. It gradually became the popular “chado” or tea ceremony in Japan.
Traditionally, people gather at a tea house to chat, socialize and enjoy tea.
As a Chinese old saying goes, seven necessities in the house are firewood, rice, oil, salt, sauce, vinegar, and tea. Tea, the most consumed beverage in the long-term history of China, has deeply blended with the Chinese people’s daily life and drinking tea has become a unique cultural activity. In Chinese society, the younger generation always shows their respect to the older generation by offering a cup of tea. In a Chinese traditional wedding ceremony, the newlyweds should kneel down in front of their parents and serve them tea to express their gratitude.
Drinking tea is not only a healthy habit for people, but also a cultural activity in Chinese daily life. The Chinese believe drinking tea can help to purify the mind. People who love tea can easily find inner peace and contentment.
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