D is for Darye

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Darye or the Korean Tea Ceremony...

is a traditional form of tea ceremony practiced in Korea. Darye literally refers to “etiquette for tea”or “tea rite” and has been kept among Korean people for 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 Darye ceremony…

has a long tradition, spanning over thousand’s of  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. The ceremony is considered to be a formal occasion with a fascinating history. Tea arrived in Korea from China in the early years of the Koryo dynasty (918-1392) via Buddhist monks, but it was not until the 1970’s that it could boast its own definitive tea ceremony. 

This is not to say Korea had been deprived of a tea making ceremony for centuries, but due to political (versus Japan) and cultural (versus Confucianism) upheaval, many of the older ways were lost in time. The story of Darye, begins again, after the Korean War in 1953 with a man named Choi Beom-sul, who would eventually become known as Venerable Hyo-Dang. His mission was to re-establish a tea-drinking culture in Korea: firstly by re-discovering some of the lost arts in monasteries scattered around the country that had survived political and cultural disruption, and secondly by developing a written record of these practices.

Having been initially introduced to Korea by Buddhist monks returning from China, tea was seen as an aid to meditation. Taoists also used ceremonial tea drinking as a means to finding the way to spiritual enlightenment. When Confucianism first replaced Buddhism in Korea during the 14th century, tea drinking and the rites associated with it were marginalized. In time, however, Confucian scholars began to use tea ceremonies to aid their own meditation. Although it has the same religious and meditative associations as the Japanese tea ceremony, Darye is certainly a less rigidly coded and formal affair. The methods are quicker to learn and the social aspect of sharing tea is very important too. The tearoom doesn’t have to be carefully thought out and decorated as it is in Japan, nor does the ceremony involve such intricate and choreographed movements between the host and the guest.

Next…Dian Hong Tea

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