The Rise of the Tea Party 茶会的兴起

In China, the etiquette of entertaining guests with tea has a long history. According to historical records, in the two Jin Dynasties and the Northern and Southern Dynasties “entertaining guests with tea” was a universal means of entertaining guests in the regions south of the Yangtze River. In the Tang Dynasty, it had developed into a part of the national etiquette and customs.
Offering tea as a gift appeared early in the history of our country, however there were not so many records of this practice in pre-Tang Dynasty literature. The offering of tea as a gift was a frequently used subject matter In the Complete Tang Poems.
Tea as a gift was fashionable for a period of the Tang Dynasty. The tea party was one of the most praiseworthy new prevailing customs appearing in the society in relation to the choice of tea as gift and tea drinking. The expression “tea party” (tea reception as it is called now) first appeared in the Tang poetry. Most of the tea parties, tea banquets or tea fairs involved monks from temples.
This proved that the tea party may have risen to popularity first with monks of Buddhist temples. Tea is not only a drink conducive to cultivating oneself according to a religious tenets, promoting the “dispelling of drowsiness” and “eliminating of earthly longings”, but also an aid in providing favorable publicity for the so-called “meditative mind”.

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