The Japanese tea ceremony is one of the oldest cultural traditions that the country still follows. There have been changes to it but the basic essence remains intact. So, what is the Japanese tea ceremony? Why is it important? Let’s know more about it.
Japanese Tea Ceremony History
The Japanese tea ceremony began in the 15th Century and it has gone through various changes over time. However, the basic philosophy remains the same and it has not changed. The guiding philosophy remains harmony, serenity, purity, and respect. Sen no Rikyu is among the major Japanese figures, known to be the one behind the formation of the entire Japanese tea ceremony.
The Current Version Of The Ceremony
Even though there have been quite some changes in the way the tea ceremony is carried out, the basic principles and the various steps that were once established remain. This ceremony was once only followed by the rich ones in Japan. However, today the Japanese tea ceremony is for everyone. People from all social statures take part in it. Most of the people in Japan who have experienced the tea ceremony were invited as guests. There are fewer hosts.
The Japanese tea ceremony is held in a traditional tatami room. There is an alcove in front of the tea room which is decorated with scrolls and various types of flowers.
The host invites the guests and serves them some sweets. Then, they are asked to sit and wait until the tea is made. The tea preparation happens before them and every guest observes in silence. The main essence of the ceremony lies in calmness and harmony, and hence everybody maintains perfect silence. Once the tea is prepared, it is served in designed tea utensils. The host will then ask the guests, ‘How do you like the tea?’ and the guests will reply, ‘It is very delicious.’
After finishing the tea, the host takes away the utensils and clean them up. Then, these utensils are given to the guests to observe the designs. The guests can ask the host about the utensils and the designs at this stage. Finally, the host takes away the utensils and thank everyone for being present in the ceremony.
Importance Of Japanese Tea Ceremony
This is a ceremony that is observed with much calmness. The guests are all calm and they all feel the serenity. It is one of those traditional ceremonies that bring the entire community together and strengthens the bond. The tea ceremony might be hundreds of year old, but it still holds importance and significance in Japan.