People throughout China drink tea daily. Tea is a customary drink worldwide. In Asian countries, drinking tea is an ancient tradition accompanied by a highly developed tea-based culture which is tied to art and local customs.
Tea is related to the Chinese culture for more than 5000 years and is also used in various religious practices. Chinese tea culture has long been an essential social component of this country and is an important aspect of their tradition. China was the earliest country to cultivate and drink tea which is enjoyed by people from all social classes.
A popular proverb among them says, "Rather go without salt for three days than without tea for a single day." Moreover the Chinese have another saying: 'Firewood, rice, oil, salt, sauce, vinegar and tea are the seven necessities to begin a day.'
Tea from China, along with her silk and porcelain, began to be known the world over more than a thousand years ago and has since always been an important Chinese export.
Importance of tea in Chinese culture:
- It is an important part of the tradition and culture of the Chinese people.
- n Chinese society, the younger generation always shows their respect to the older generation by offering a cup of tea. Inviting their elders to go to restaurants and having some tea is a traditional activity on holidays.
- Going to restaurants and drinking tea becomes an important activity for family gatherings. Every Sunday, Chinese restaurants are crowded, especially when people celebrate festivals. This phenomenon reflects Chinese family values.
- It is said in the Chinese culture that tea helps in enhancing the concentration and clearing the mind. The act of drinking and pouring tea is an important ceremony in the country.
- In Chinese culture, people make serious apologies to others by pouring tea for them. For example, children serving tea to their parents is a sign of regret and submission.
- Tea has been one of the daily necessities in China since time immemorial. Countless numbers of people like to have their aftermeal cup of tea.
- In summer or warm climate, tea seems to dispel the heat and bring on instant cool together with a feeling of relaxation. For this reason, tea-houses abound in towns and market villages in South China and provide elderly retirees with the locales to meet and chat over a cup of tea.
- Drinking tea together with all the members of the family on Sunday is an important tradition. This helps them in keeping the family connected.If any member of the family has offended someone then he or she can simply apologize by serving tea to that person. This shows the importance of tea in a Chinese family.
- Tea also plays a major role in the Chinese weddings where it is given as gifts. The way of preparing tea is dictated by the Chinese custom and it is highly dependent on the occasion and formalities. In the traditional Chinese marriage ceremony, both the bride and groom kneel in front of their parents and serve them tea. That is the most devout way to express their gratitude. In front of their parents, it is a practice for the married couple to say, "Thank you for bringing us up. Now we are getting married. We owe it all to you."
- Due to the importance of tea in Chinese society and culture, tea houses can be found in most Chinese neighbourhoods and business districts. Chinese-style tea houses offer dozens of varieties of hot and cold tea concoctions.
Tea with the aromatics in it may help resolve meat and fat and thus promote digestion. It is, therefore, of special importance to people who live mainly on meat, like many of the ethnic minorities in China.
Chinese drink tea at meals and serve it to friends when they come for a visit. "On such occasions, it is served continually as long as they remain together engaged in conversation," wrote Matteo Ricci (1552-1610), an Italian Christian missionary who stayed in China for 28 years, in "China in the Sixteen Century.
Beginning in the late afternoon, the typical Chinese tea house quickly becomes packed with students and business people, and later at night plays host to insomniacs and night owls simply looking for a place to relax. Formal tea houses also exist. They provide a range of Chinese and Japanese tea leaves, as well as tea making accoutrements and a better class of snack food.
Reference: How Important the Tea Was in Ancient China?