The Chinese New Year is almost here. We have our eye on February 8. To make sure you’re prepared, we want to ensure you’re preserving the core values of tea etiquette. Chinese New Year is like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all rolled into one amazing package full of tradition and culture. One of our favorite traditions is the Chinese New Year Tea Ceremony.
On the first day of the Chinese New Year, the eldest generation sits properly in the dominant chairs in the living room. Then, the next generation offers them sweet tea. If there is another generation present, the younger generation does the same for their parents, and so on and so forth. Everyone at the ceremony must be properly dressed and groomed, and must follow the proper tea ceremony etiquette.
When serving tea, the presenter must always face the receiver while standing and slightly bowing. Once the tea is handed over, the presenter folds his/her hands in front of them and recites the proper traditional New Year wishes. Then, once the tea is sipped, the receiver gives back a red packet, typically filled with money.
Other tea etiquette that should be followed include:
- Teacup Handle Placement: The handle should face left for the presenter and right for the receiver. The cup and saucer should also be held with both hands.
- Using a Gaiwan: If a gaiwan is used, the presenter holds the gaiwan by the saucer with both hands and the receiver takes the saucer with one hand and the lid ring with the other.
- Teacups without Handles: If smaller teacups are used without handles or saucers, they have to be served on a tray. It’s not proper to hold the cup when handing over the tea.
Chinese New Year Tea Selection
To make the tea special, candied fruits and vegetables can be added to the teacups. Options include candied carrot, candied shredded coconut, or candied winter melon. Each fruit or vegetable has its own meaning and purpose.