Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Japanese Tea Ceremony at the Toronto Tea Festival

Once again I attended the Toronto Tea Festival held at the end of January. I've done a post about my experience there when I went for the first time 2 years ago (you can read about it here). 

That first year we watched the Korean tea ceremony, this year we caught the Japanese tea ceremony. And let's be honest, when we think of tea ceremonies we think of Japanese. I was stoked to be watching all the steps of the ceremony go down with a wonderful explanation for each part. 

{Erin Out and About} Japanese Tea Ceremony at Toronto Tea Festival 2017

In Japan the ceremony is called Chanoyu, Sado, or Chado which means 'the way of tea'. It is more than about preparing and drinking tea, the choreographed ritual is about practicing ''Wa, Kei, Sei, and Jaku'' that is harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. 

The host's movements are always with the guest in mind; where the burner is depending on the season, the angle of the utensils used for them to view etc. Our host, Momo, prepared a traditional bowl of matcha tea (no matcha lattes here), and proffer sweets to balance the bitterness of the tea. Cleaning the utensils and laying out items. 

{Erin Out and About} Japanese Tea Ceremony at Toronto Tea Festival 2017

The responsibility of the guest is also to practice the way of tea and to be present in the moment. Examining and admiring the bowl, being sure to slurp the last sip to express appreciation for the tea and the host. The host will continue to prepare bowls of tea until the guest tells them to wrap it up and then the ritual of cleaning up begins. The guest can inspect the tea caddy and the scoop and ask questions about where they were acquired and who carved the scoop.

Once the host has completed the circle and returned the items to their storage, they bow and the ceremony has ended.

{Erin Out and About} Japanese Tea Ceremony at Toronto Tea Festival 2017

If I do make it to Japan as I had wished, I will certainly be seeking out an opportunity to be part of 'the way of tea'.

Have you ever participated in a tea ceremony?

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