It's one thing to read about Chinese Tea culture or the Asian tea ceremonies and quite another to have the experience in an Asian country as part of a Chinese Mandarin school as the only Americans. We were honored to be able to participate and so happy that our daughter has this experience in her memory banks forever.
My daughter's Mandarin school is one of the oldest in Penang and was founded in 1950. MANY birthday cakes were also part of this celebration.
In Chinese culture, the younger generation always shows their respect to the older generation by offering a cup of tea. This is part of the strong Chinese family values. The tea ceremony is a big part of Asian life from ancient times, but still remains. It's long been associated with Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism.
This is a large school with 1000 kids and the parents were asked to come this special day to celebrage together. Most of the kids and families are local Malaysian Chinese, but 1/3 are from foreign Asian countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Laos and Pakistan. And there is one little American girl who now feels perfectly at home there.
This 5 star Chinese school has a large stadium, hostel/dorm for foreign students, large library, English center, 5 science labs, 2 computer labs, conference room, music hall, basketball courts and many multimedia rooms. We appreciate the hard work that goes into creating these celebrations.
The Chinese tea ceremony is very important in a traditional Chinese marriage. Both the bride and groom kneel in front of their parents and serve them tea in the traditional Chinese Marriage Ceremony. This is their way of showing respect and gratitude to their parents. Most of the other children were aware of these traditions because it is part of life in Asia, but this ceremony was new to our daughter Mosart. Some times one learns best by doing.
There were wonderful speeches in Mandarin during the celebration.
And LOTS of birthday cakes that the kids enjoyed after the tea ceremony.
Yummy traditional Chinese sweets too!
The Tea Ceremony
You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea. Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup. Only in the present, can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy. If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea. You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone. Life is like that. If you are not fully present, you will look around and it will be gone. You will have missed the feel, the aroma, the delicacy and beauty of life. It will seem to be speeding past you. The past is finished. Learn from it and let it go. The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it. Worrying is worthless. When you stop ruminating about what has already happened, when you stop worrying about what might never happen, then you will be in the present moment. Then you will begin to experience joy in life.
— Thich Nhat Hanh
What do you think we can all learn from the tea ceremony?