In China, there are seven daily necessities: firewood, rice, oil, salt, sauce, vinegar and, yes, you guessed it, tea! The tea culture in China is a vital part of Chinese history and its culture. China’s tea culture differs from that of other countries such as America or even Europe.
I’ve seen your avid tea drinkers—you know, the ones who routinely set up shop in cafés like Starbucks and gulp their tea while typing on their laptops.
In China, it’s a little bit different, though. OK, it’s a lot different. Tea in China is not always served as a beverage. There is tea drinking and tea tasting.
Tea drinking is like drinking Coca-Cola only with more culture and tradition. Tea drinking is also served for healing purposes when someone has fallen ill. Tea tasting, however, demonstrates the Chinese culture in that of humanity and nature must unite. Tea and the tea utensils must compliment the atmosphere that one is in.
While reading on the tea culture in China, I discovered many customs for tea.
A Sign of Respect
As many of us know, the respect level in China sits on a high platform. The younger generation always serves their elders by offering them a cup of tea. As a conventional activity, on many holidays, the younger generation not only invites their elders out for tea, but pays for it as well.
A Sign of Apology
In China, pouring a cup of tea for someone who you’ve hurt is equivalent to saying, “I’m sorry.”
In habitual Chinese wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom kneel before their parents and present them with tea as thanks for their upbringings. The bride also presents tea to her parents-in-law which symbolizes her becoming a part of their family.
Once married, the sons and daughters occasionally visit their parents which is why going out and drinking tea with their parents is vital. Therefore, on Sundays, you can find many Chinese restaurants packed with families.
The tea culture doesn’t solely stop at indulging it. Tea is of such high importance that it appears in many art works and writings. Yet, the tea culture differs in many parts of China. Despite the differences that may occur, it is agreed that tea in China, from the rich to the poor, is very spiritual, appeasing and hold high values.