Tea has been an essential part of Vietnamese culture for hundreds and thousands of years. It is considered that tea is served at any events ranging from little family get-togethers to business meetings. For Vietnamese it is a way of life and kind of art that still plays a great role in the society.
Brief history background
Vietnamese tea culture has a long history which started, according to the legends, nearly 4000 years ago. One of the most popular stories says that one noble lady visited Van Luong village (now Van Phu district) and taught people to grow tea. In some documents it is mentioned that tea was discovered accidentally by the ancestor of the Vietnamese people Shen Nong. Despite the fact that history of Vietnamese tea started long time ago its production was set up only during French colonial times (1882-1945). They established numerous tea plantations to export it to Europe, providing the foundation for the this industry development in the country.In the middle of the 20th century Vietnamese tea factories were damaged by the war. Later many of them were rebuilt, so now there are a lot of economic sectors involved in tea production.
What does tea symbolize in Vietnam?
Vietnamese believe that tea symbolizes unity: they suppose that it binds people together and helps to express hospitality. Hence people often invite their friends, relatives or neighbors for a talk over a cup of tea. Centuries ago in villages, families often took turns cooking tea every evening to treat villagers.People in Vietnam also consider tea as a symbol of calmness and harmony. It centers and refreshes the mind, helps to relax and calm down. Many elderly people love to have a cup of hot green tea before starting a new day in the hope of refreshment and sound of mind. Tea in Vietnam has a strong connection with Buddhism. Many poems show that tea was used as a way to express human values and convey the spirit of this religion.
Tea house culture
More and more Vietnamese tea houses have appeared in the country recently. They are usually designed in distinctive style for those who want to enjoy their tea in a unique space made exclusively for tea lovers. Tea house rooms are decorated like the old houses in Vietnamese countryside. Customers can take their time sitting under the eaves, enjoying the taste and feeling the atmosphere of such place. Tea houses offer wide range of tea, from the traditional green tea and herbal tea to exotic kinds of imported tea.
Vietnamese tea ceremony
In traditional Vietnamese culture, the tea ceremony is the first step of the entire wedding and is usually held before the wedding day.Typically, the couple receives the tea tray and pours the tea into two small tea cups. Then they pick up them and offer tea to the family members starting from the eldest ones. This is the way to express the couple’s gratitude to everyone who takes time to take part in such an important for them event. After accepting and drinking the tea, the family members present gifts, say words of encouragement to the couple and give advice for a coupleGenerally speaking, tea ceremony is about showing respect and expressing appreciation for the love and sacrifice of their parents, relatives and ancestors, and blessing and making well-wishes for young couple’s marriage as well.
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