Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tea ceremony can be of yore or yours

We use the word "ceremony" a lot in tea doings.

Every tea culture has one. Japanese chado, on any occasion, is peaceful and reverent, a conduit for meanings both profoundly universal and deeply personal. Chinese gongfu is fluid, skillful, utilitarian. Korean tarye is natural and relaxed. Outside of Asia, English afternoon tea is a certain celebration of civility.

These are each ritual in aspect, bearing out in some form the etymology of the word "ceremony," from the Latin meaning "holiness, sacredness; awe; reverent rite." But even the street culture of Burma, the mint tea cafes of north Africa, the mandated cups for visitors and buyers throughout southern Asia and the Middle East — tea throughout the world manages to express itself through ceremonial gestures and symbols. What is the Russian samovar if not an altar, a baptismal font?

At your table, together or alone, tea traditions can be maintained — or born. Learn the old ways, carry them on, forge the links. But also experiment, incorporate, transcend.

No comments:

Post a Comment