The purity of tea represents pure love;
the stability of tea stands for faithful love;
the fertility of tea represents many children.
The first written record of a tea ceremony was during the
Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 A. D.).
At a traditional Chinese wedding the tea ceremony is a significant event, formally introducing the bride and groom and showing respect to their families.
After exchanging vows, the couple will serve tea to the groom’s family (the bride would have served tea privately to her own family earlier) or, as a more modern approach, tea will be served to both the bride and groom’s families together.
This act shows respect and gratitude to the parents for all their years of love and care. Sometimes the bride and groom will kneel while presenting the tea or sometimes they will bow. The parents will be seated and the order in which the tea is served is very important. Parents are served first then grandparents, grand uncles and aunts, uncles and aunts then elder siblings. The groom’s sister or relative assists in pouring the tea and washing the tea cups.
Traditionally, red dates, peanuts, longans (tropical fruit) and lotus leaves are added into the wedding tea. In Chinese, reading those four ingredients sounds like “to have baby as soon as possible,” a good wish for newly married couples.
Any sweet tea is used because it is believed to bring happiness to the couple and to foster good relationships between the newlyweds and their new in-laws.
After drinking the tea, gifts are presented to the bride and groom. These gifts are usually either red envelopes of money or pieces of jewelry. If it is jewelry, the couple will wear it immediately.
The Chinese wedding tea set is a keepsake of the wedding and is a gift from the bride’s family. These tea sets can include traditional Chinese cups or Western cups with handles.
I love weddings and I love tea, so if ever I renew my wedding vows I think I’ll include a Chinese wedding tea ceremony.
What part of a wedding ceremony, Chinese or Western, do you find to be the most romantic?
Hong Kong Treasure: A deadly Philippines typhoon stole Annie’s memory. Now, can a handsome Chinese stranger save her from the danger she has forgotten?
Coming this September from Assent Publishing.