As a highlight in the celebration of Soochow University’s 118th anniversary, the annual “Cherry-blossom Tea Fest” held by the SCU’s Japanese tea ceremony club behind the University's emblem wall at Waishuangsi campus attracted hundreds of spectators and participants On March 17th, 2018.
The event marked its 20th year as the Club has been promoting the sophisticated Japanese tea ceremony and etiquette and striving to maintain the quality of this annual activity anticipated by numerous people every year.
To provide all the SCU staff, faculty, students and quests with the best tea ceremony experience, the members of the Club had gone through many challenges and long-time practice, especially in the kneeling and tea brewing and offering processes. Chien-Yu Lin, president of the SCU Japanese tea ceremony club, who has been involved in this event for three consecutive years, said that to sit one’s knees is a daunting task, during which the tea servant needs to overcome the numbness of the feet and the swelling of the knees.
The practice would begin from the freshman year and a student tea servant could have her first opportunity to perform the tea-serving ritual in her senior year, but the progress and skillfulness after years of hard work always bring a great sense of accomplishment.
While passing down the Japanese tea ceremony culture, club members have also created a heritage and culture of unreserved devotion and active sharing inside the Club, said Mei-Hua Wu, one of the Club’s major tutors and trainers of Japanese tea ceremony. That’s why the Club has been making this annual festival even more exquisite and successful year after year.
The tea fest was not just about offering guests carefully brewed tea, but about presenting the spirit of tea ceremony and the symbolic meaning of each move. For example, wiping the tea-wares means, in addition to maintaining tidiness, to remind oneself to remain calm, pure and undisturbed. In the process of brewing and offering tea, a tea servant would turn the tea bowls over and over again so that the guests can see all the beauty of the tea bowls, reflecting respect to the tea ritual. Such respect is also shown in the appreciation of calligraphy, painting, tea sets, etc. Although the whole banquet was mostly quiet without much conversation, the process and the interaction between the tea servants and the guests still fully demonstrate the spirit of the Japanese tea ceremony culture.
The efforts of the students of the Japanese tea ceremony club were highly approved by the guests. Hsiang-Miao Liu, an administrative assistant of SCU’s Teaching and Learning Center, said that this was her second time participating in the tea fest as a guest, and she had fully felt the seriousness and hard work of the tea club. Liu and other guests were all involved in and enjoyed the fest as the Club’s tutor Mei-Hua Wu introduced the symbol and meaning of each tea bowl to them in person, which added even more joy to the atmosphere.
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