A tea ceremony is a ritualized form of making tea practiced in Asian culture by the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese. The tea ceremony, literally translated as “way of tea” in Japanese, and “art of tea” in Chinese, is a cultural activity involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation of tea. The Japanese tea ceremony is better known, and was influenced by the Chinese tea culture during ancient and medieval times, starting in the 9th century when tea was first introduced to Japan from China.
In Japanese tradition a tea house ordinarily refers to a private structure designed for holding Japanese tea ceremonies. This structure and specifically the room in it where the tea ceremony takes place is called chashitsu (茶室?, literally “tea room”). The architectural space called chashitsu was created for aesthetic and intellectual fulfillment.
In China, a tea house (茶館, cháguăn or 茶屋, cháwū) is traditionally similar to the American cafe, albeit offering tea rather than coffee. People gather at tea houses to chat, socialize, and enjoy tea, and young people often meet at tea houses for dates.The Guangdong (Cantonese) style tea house is particularly famous outside of China.
The Korean tea ceremony or darye(茶禮) is a traditional form of tea ceremony practiced in Korea. Darye literally refers to “etiquette for tea” or “day tea rite” and has been kept among Korean people for an over a thousand years. The chief element of the Korean tea ceremony is the ease and naturalness of enjoying tea within an easy formal setting. Tea ceremonies are now being revived in Korea as a way to find relaxation and harmony in the fast-paced new Korean culture, and continuing in the long tradition of intangible Korean art.
The Vietnamese tea ceremony, also influenced by its Chinese counterpart, is only performed during weddings and other religious rituals. One can also refer to the whole set of rituals, tools, gestures, etc. used in such ceremonies as tea culture. All of these tea ceremonies and rituals contain “an adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday life”, as well as refinement, an inner spiritual content, humility, restraint and simplicity “as all arts that partake the extraordinary, an artistic artificiality, abstractness, symbolism and formalism” to one degree or another.