When we think of Chinese New Year ("CNY") traditions the first thoughts that come to mind is probably giving out and / or receiving red packets 红包 or indulging in all the festive snacks e.g. Pineapple Tarts and Bak Kwa.
What you may not know is that tea is also present in many CNY traditions.
For example, on the first day of the traditional CNY celebrations, guests are welcomed with tea and sweet fruits and treats to sweeten the upcoming year. It is not unusual for the treats to be arranged in eight units for each tray (for auspicious reasons).
In China, every region has different traditions when it comes to how teas play a part in the New Year celebrations. One of the popular practices is to brew up premium pure tea and serving it to the oldest member of the family who then passes it on to the younger members. Pu'erh and Tie Guan Yin are often chosen for this ceremony and passed around with a tray of sweets, called "the box of prosperity".
Photos credits: @imehly
Another example is found in Southern China where guests are usually welcomed with three cups of tea.
Each cup has a meaning:
First cup is sweet to bring "sweetness" in the near year;
Second cup is a smoked bean tea, a blend of tea leaves, shredded carrots, orange peels, perilla seeds and sesame seeds. It's said to wish "harmony"; and
Final cup is instead a cup of simple green tea, offered after a meal to conclude the tea ceremony.
Have you heard of any other tea tradition? Do share them with us.
Gong Xi Fa Cai wishing you and your families a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year!