Updated: Mar 4, 2020
The second cultural event in July Edu-Pal China put together was a traditional Chinese ceremony! Tea is such a central part of Chinese culture, and has been since its discovery, so tea ceremonies are a work of art and are very formal, and we as Edu-Pals got to experience it firsthand. In order to heighten the experience of a true tea ceremony, we all dressed up in Hanfu, traditional Chinese dress that typically has long billowy sleeves and intricate braided hairstyles (you better believe I had way too much fun flinging my sleeves everywhere).
After we got all dressed up and had taken plenty of pictures spinning around, we all sat down to watch the ceremony and learn as much about tea as possible. We learned that the preparation is just as important as drinking the tea, so we looked on as our hostess warmed the cups and rinsed the tea leaves as we relaxed to soft music.
The first tea we tried was an earthy red tea, and we all quickly learned not to drink like British people with our pinkies out, but to tuck our pinkies under the cup (our British Edu-Pal joked that she was quite saddened by this!) and that depending on the age of the person serving the tea, you tap twice with one finger, two fingers or three to say thank you. Next, our hostess graciously let us try our hand at performing a ceremony, and none of us quite expected how much goes into it! The water must be poured in a clockwise motion over the tea leaves (all without burning your hand, how was our hostess able to do this??) and pour out the tea using one hand, so as to not create too much excitement by using both hands.
Once we all had a go at our own ceremonies, we sat back down to drink another tea, this one sweeter than the first. As we stopped our golden yellow beverages, our hostess told us about how different teas are used for different things, such as one tea helps aid in digestion so it must be drunk before a meal, while another tea is best to be drunk after eating, plus many, many more.
While I still don't know everything that goes into a formal Chinese tea ceremony, I learned a lot from this cultural event and will appreciate all the tea ceremonies I have in the future!
Watch the video of this event here: