The Korean tea ceremony or “Darye” is a traditional form of tea ceremony practiced in Korea
Darye or Korean tea ceremony is a sort of formal ceremony with a long tradition, spanning over a thousand years. It is now beginning to gain popularity once more in Korea over the recent years, mostly as a form of bringing harmony and relaxation to an otherwise busy schedule. Darye can be literally translated into English to mean “Day tea rite” or the more loose English translation to mean “Etiquette for tea”. The ceremony is considered to be a formal occasion with a fascinating history.
History of Korean Tea Ceremony
The year 661 stands out as the first time in recorded history where some form of tea ceremony was
conducted, believed to be among the first of its kind in Korea. The ceremony was more of an offering made to the founder of the Geumgwan Gaya
Kingdom, King Suro. In later centuries, Buddhist temples were home to tea offerings made to ancestors and well loved monks.
The most notable era for Korean tea ceremonies is definitely between 1392 and 1910, often referred to the Joseon Dynasty. This saw a further refining of the ceremony too much like what we see today. This was a daily occurrence in the royal and aristocratic households, although there were special tea ceremonies named “Special Tea Rite”.
The end of the Joseon Dynasty marked the death of the ritual for a number of reasons: The tea harvesting season in Korea was not conducive to harvesting largely because of the presence of dangerous wild animals in the tea plantations. Extreme cold weather during harvesting season also made it difficult for farmers to harvest their tea. In addition to this, exorbitant tax for plantations saw a decline in the number of farmers willing to plant the precious tea trees, with some going as far as burning down their plantation in protest to the infamous ‘tea taxes’.
Items used for the Korean Tea Ceremony
As previously mentioned, The Korean tea ceremony or “Darye” is a traditional form of tea ceremony practiced in Korea.” The equipment used for the tea ceremonies varied greatly, mostly according to the season or the people performing the ceremonies.
The most common, however, were metalware and ceramics, although ceramics are the most common choice for modern day Korean tea ceremonies. These equipments were also influenced by the religion of the people performing the ceremonies. Ceramics even then were the most widely used for tea ceremonies. Other equipment used in order of the most common to the rarest includes:
3. Dragon engraved imperial porcelain
The actual traditional Korean tea ceremonies took place in designated tea houses. The hostess was tasked with serving the tea, which was traditionally held in clay coil containers. The tea was served in pre-warmed cups from a good distance from the serving jug to the cup itself. The effect was nice looking bubbles, and the ritual was also thought to be
calming in itself.
Only the best water was used for the traditional Korean tea ceremony. It was not uncommon for the more established tea houses to have their own specially dug well where water for tea was to be gotten from.