Day 66: Tea Ceremony

To be honest, I thought about not attending a free tea ceremony hosted by Fudan’s SSDPP (too long to spell out) after work but knowing that I hadn’t taken a worthwhile photo (i.e., a photo that wasn’t just food) today convinced me to go.

And I’m glad I went. Lesson learned: You never know what you’ll learn or whom you’ll meet.

I’ve been to a tea ceremony through the Asian Studies Initiative at BU club, so I thought I knew what to expect—a small group sitting around a table sampling tea as each brew got stronger and stronger. Instead, I walked in (on time) and found that the ceremony had already begun with a fairly large number of students who all sat in rows facing the front. I could only recognize two people from my Chinese film class who are from Sweden. No BU kids. Soon enough, though, one BU student did join.

Anyway, I didn’t think we would be able to taste the tea with so many people, but there were enough tea and cups to go around. We learned the six types of Chinese tea (green, dark, black, wulong, yellow, white) and the proper way to show thanks when someone pours you tea (tap two fingers). Coming from a Chinese family, the latter wasn’t new to me, but I did learn the fable behind it: Back when the emperor would visit towns and not want people to know or kneel upon his presence, which would signal to others that he was the emperor, people would instead use their fingers to say thanks.

Tea ceremony
An English translator helped us understand the techniques being used to brew tea.
Tea ceremony
A student tries to brew his own tea.

An assistant behind the tea ceremony who sat next to me started chatting with me, and of course, now we’re contacts on WeChat.