Tea Rituals — Calm in the Midst of the Storm
Matcha green tea
Sure, tea is a great way to get in herbs, or enjoy a tasty beverage. But it can be so much more.
For many of us, the excuse to indulge in a quiet moment may even be the most important part of having a cup of tea.
Around the world, people have made the ritual of preparing and enjoying tea into a high art.
In Asia, where tea rituals have reached their peak, the tea involved is green tea. The Japanese tea ceremony, also called the Way of Tea (Chado), involves the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha, powdered green tea. Zen Buddhism was a primary influence in the development of the tea ceremony, so it is a meditation in itself.
The art of drinking and serving tea also plays a major cultural role in China, where it inspires poetry and songs. For centuries, the ritual of preparing and serving tea has held a revered place in the hearts and minds of Chinese aristocracy, intellectuals and poets, and mutual love of tea cements lifelong friendships. In China, the ceremony emphasizes the tea, rather than the ceremony. The taste, the smell, how one tea tastes compared to the previous tea, or in successive rounds of drinking are the focus.
The modern English tea ritual started during the reign of Queen Victoria. To counteract what the nobles called a sinking feeling late in the afternoon, they began asking servants to bring tea with small cakes and pastries. Victoria caught wind of the idea and a tradition was born. By the late 1840’s the Queen was having afternoon tea (in formal dress) daily.
If you don’t currently practice a Japanese, Chinese or English tea ritual, you can create a very nice personal version right in your own home. Whether you’re a morning, afternoon or evening tea drinker, take the time to make your daily cup a special moment. Allow yourself to savor the experience of the taste and the soothing warmth of the cup.
What’s your favorite tea ritual? Share it with a comment.