Last Saturday I went to a Japanese Tea Ceremony at the local library. I was very glad that the rain stopped that afternoon or else there will be an overflow of water on the road as the lake near our neighborhood is super full that almost flooded some parts of the road right across my neighborhood.
The Japanese Tea Ceremony was presented by the Chado Urasenke Tankokai of DFW and hosted by the Smith Public Library in Wylie, TX. It was very interesting to know that tea has been celebrated in Japan over a 1000 years ago and is to this day.
Tea is native to China and was brought to Japan by Japanese students, travelers, and diplomats thousands of years ago. Tea ceremony has become a tradition in Japan since then. During those times, only the elites can drink tea. It was called the luxury drink. The emcee (she teaches how tea ceremonies are done), tea was termed as Elixir of the Immortals. It is because tea has lots of health benefits that defend our body from illness.
The special type of green tea called Matcha is used in the Japanese tea ceremony. It is a finely powdered green tea to be prepared only with a bamboo whisk. The manner or art of this preparation is called temae. The guest consumes the whole tea leaf and the water. There are two types of tea gatherings in Japan – informal tea gathering chakai (tea gathering) and formal tea gathering chaji (tea event). According to the presenter, chaji is a longer ceremony than chakai.
After the presentation, the presenters gave us some tea and sweets. That was the very first time I tasted Matcha tea. It was good. 🙂
Because the Matcha tea tastes bitter, the host of the tea ceremony serves their guests some sweets first. This is to lessen the bitterness of the tea while drinking it.
Japanese tea ceremony is celebrating harmony, purity, respect, and tranquility.