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Tea Ceremony

Tea has been consumed in Japan by all levels of society since the 16th century.  A tea ceremony, also called the Way of Tea is a ritualized form of making tea practiced in the East Asian cultural sphere. The Japanese tea ceremony is better known, and was influenced by the Chinese tea ceremony during ancient and medieval times. The brewing and consumption of tea has made tea into more than just a drink but an art, to foster harmony in humanity, promote harmony with nature, discipline the mind, quiet the heart, and attain the purity of enlightenment, the art of tea becomes teaism. Tea drinking is used as an aid to meditation, for assistance in fortune telling, for ceremonial purposes and in the expression of the arts. The traditional tea used in Japanese tea ceremonies is called matcha, a powdered green tea. This powdered green tea was first used in religious rituals in Buddhist monasteries. By the 13th century the Kamakura Shogunate ruled the nation and tea and the luxuries associated with it became a status symbol among the warrior class.

There are various types of tea ceremonies that arepracticed at specific times of day or year. These include; Akatsuki-no-chaji (dawn tea ceremony in winter), Yuuzari-no-chaji (early evening tea ceremony in warmer months), Asa-cha (early-morning summer tea ceremony), Shoburo (first use of the portable brazier in the year - May), Shougo-no-chaji (midday tea ceremony), Kuchikiri-no-chaji (tea ceremony celebrating the breaking of the del on a jar of new tea – November), Nagori-no-chaji (tea ceremony honoring the last remains of the year’s supply of tea and to see out the warm months before winter sets in – October), Yobanashi (winter-evening tea ceremony), Hatsugama (boiling of the first kettle tea ceremony). Just as there are many tea ceremonies there are many tea ceremony utensils. There are cloths that are specific to utensils and are used to clean their specific utensils. Various sized tea bowls, tea scoop, ladle, tea caddy, whisk, and various “tana” were tea implements are placed and stored. Depending on the ceremony these are used in different ways.