Chinese Tea Culture

Chinese tea cultures refers to the custom of tea drinking or serving. This custom was popular in ancient China as tea was regarded as one of the seven daily necessities, the others being firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce and vinegar.

This custom originated in Ching Dynasty, about 300~400 years ago. At that time, Emperor Qian Long would sometimes travel in disguise throughout the empire. Servants were told not to reveal their king’s identity. One day in a restaurant, the emperor, after pouring himself a cup of tea, filled a servant’s cup as well. To that servant it was a huge honor to have the emperor pour him a cup of tea. Out of reflex, he wanted to kneel and express his  thanks. He could not kneel  and kowtow to the emperor since that would reveal the emperor’s identity, sp he bent his fingers on the table to express his gratitude and respect to the emperor.

Tea culture in China differs from that of Europe, Britain or Japan in such things as preparation methods, tasting methods and the occasions for which it is consumed. Even now, in both casual and formal Chinese occasion, tea is consumed regularly. In addition to being a drink, Chinese tea is used in traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese cuisine.

The drinking of tea can serve as a sign of respect in Chinese society. The younger generation shows its respect to the older generation by offering a cup of tea. Inviting and paying for their elders to go to restaurants for tea is a traditional activity on holidays. It is a gesture of respect to their elders.

In the past, people of lower rank served tea to people of higher ranking. Today, as Chinese society become more liberal, sometimes at home, parents may pour a cup of tea for their children or a boss may even pour tea for subordinates at restaurants. In general, the lower ranking person should not expect the higher rank person to serve him or her tea in formal occasions.

Drinking tea often takes place at a traditional family gathering. When sons and daughters leave home to work and get married, they seldom visit their parents. As a result, parents seldom meet their grand children. Going to restaurants and drinking tea, therefore, becomes an important activity for family gatherings. Every Sunday, Chinese restaurants are crowded, especially when people celebrates festivals. This phenomenon reflects Chinese family values.

In Chinese culture, people make serious apologies to others by pouring them tea. That is a sign of regret and submission. On the wedding day, both the bride and groom kneel in fnt of their parents and serve them tea. That is away to express their gratitude. The parents will usually drink a small potion of the tea give them a red envelope which symbolizes good luck.

Drinking tea also symbolizes acceptance into the family. Refusal to drink would symbolize opposition to the wedding and is quite unheard of since it would result in loss of face. Older relatives so introduced would give a red envelope to the matrimonial couple which the couple would be expected to give a red envelope to younger, unmarried relations.

PS: Please be reminded that the images are not revelent to the topic.

Lelouch: Shall we have some tea together?
Hera: Yes yes yessss!!! Lelouch-sama~!!! <333


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