Chinese tea ceremony brings culture to campus

Hendersonville, Tenn., freshman Claire Parsons and Bowling Green freshman Leslie Johnson partake in a tea ceremony held by the Chinese club on Wednesday. Served along with the tea were Chinese snack foods, such as red bean mochi. “I’m addicted to those now,” Johnson said.

Kaely Holloway

A traditional Chinese tea ceremony brought Eastern culture to WKU.

The tea was held by the Chinese Club, with funding and costuming provided by the Confucius Institute. Students dressed up and hosted the ceremony on Wednesday in Helm Library.


In Chinese culture, the tea ceremony is about art, elegance and harmony. It emphasizes the tea itself, focusing on the aromas and tastes of the various teas prepared. Throughout the ceremony, participants enjoy the health benefits of tea, as well as these philosophies related to this peaceful ceremony.

Leitchfield freshman Kori Mann was one of the students preparing the tea and explaining the traditions for spectators. While the tea was being served, she explained how the tea is to be savored.

“Smell the tea, taste it and appreciate it,” Mann said.

Mann worked with Woodbury senior John Martin during the ceremony. Martin focused on brewing, while Mann shared the history of the ceremony. This was the first formal ceremony either of them had done.

“It’s a ritual in that it’s about focus of energy and gracefulness,” Martin said.

Martin also explained that the flavor of Chinese tea is enhanced the longer it steeps, changing the flavor of it per cup served.

“With Chinese tea, you’re getting to the good part right when you’re thinking of throwing it away,” Martin said.

Several types of tea were served at this event, including Oolong tea and red tea. Spectators were also given a choice of Chinese cookies and sweets to have along with their tea.

Those who organized the event also created a different way for spectators to sign in, creating yet another Chinese learning experience. Those attending were seated at a small table and given two sheets of colored paper. On these papers were watermarked outlines and instructions on how to sign the word Hăo, which is Chinese for “good.”

Tiffany Lewis, a junior from Dubach, La., was one of the students assisting and instructing spectators on how to accurately complete their sheet. She and the other students who helped with the ceremony are currently enrolled in a Chinese language course.

“We’re learning about tea ceremonies for the final project,” she said. “We’re learning about how it deals with the culture overall.”

After the ceremony, the Chinese Club hosted a singing and dancing competition. The spectators chose winners by using their sign-in sheets they had created earlier.

Cortney Ballard, a sophomore from Cincinnati, Ohio, came to witness and enjoy the ceremony.

“It was very interesting,” she said. “It was nice seeing the traditional set-up and learning about the ceremony.”