St Margaret College, Secondary School, Verdala  |  (+356) 25985400|smc.verdala.ss@ilearn.edu.mt

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students experience a Japanese Tea culture ceremony

On Tuesday, 10th November 2020, a group of Form 4 (Year 10) students at St. Margaret College Secondary School, Verdala, Cospicua experienced a Japanese Tea culture ceremony in class. This school project was related to their R.E. study unit about World Religions and it was coordinated by senior teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc.

This event was held on a Japanese Study Corner supported by the Japanese Embassy in Rome and by the Malta Embassy in Tokyo.

Teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc said, “Experiencing a Japanese Tea Culture ceremony in class was a multicultural lesson to our participating students and it was also a stimulus for further research study about the richness and beauty of Japanese  culture”.

During this event students could observe the various steps required in a Japanese Tea culture ceremony while enjoy the tranquillity and harmony that it entails. Due to Covid-19 restrictions the majority of the students in class could not enjoy the fragrance of Japanese tea but some selected students had this opportunity. While observing social distance, these students did not just drink hot Japanese Tea but learned how to prepare a tea pot with tea from one’s heart. They also learned that every movement, gesture and placement of tea utensils requires harmony of steps and purity of heart. Above all the host of the tea ceremony (in this case the teacher) showed frequent respect gestures towards his guests (the students).

In Japan, a tea culture ceremony is called ‘Chanoyu’, ‘Sado’ or simply ‘Ocha’. In Japanese culture, the ritual of a tea ceremony represents respect, purity, tranquillity and harmony. The origin of Japanese tea culture dates back to the 12th century A.D. and it was introduced in Japan through Buddhism. This ritual was first practiced in Japan during the Kamakura period (1192-1333 AD) by Buddhist Zen monks to remain awake during their meditation sessions.

Normally the proper tea required in a Japanese tea culture ceremony is powdered green tea called ‘matcha’ but St. Margaret College students tasted only leaf tea called ‘senchado’ instead of powdered tea.

Followed steps in a Japanese tea culture ceremony can vary due to different Japanese philosophical schools of thought. However, in every Japanese tea ceremony the following tools are required: ‘Mizusashi’ (cold water container), ‘Furo’ (a small stove), ‘Chawa’ (tea bowl), ‘Natsume’ (tea container) and ‘Kama’ (kettle or tea pot).

During the Japanese tea ceremony held in class, St. Margaret College students were introduced to the Japanese concept of ‘Wabi’ and ‘Sabi’. ‘Wabi’ represents the spiritual experience of quietness and sober refinement while ‘Sabi’ represents the material side of emptiness and imperfection. So through the concept of Wabi-Sabi students had to reflect upon their imperfections and go through emptiness of mind and thought in order to acquire quietness of mind and spirit. This exercise of Wabi-Sabi (embracing human imperfections and make the most of life) was required in preparation for the tea ritual itself but it was exercised throughout the whole ceremony itself.

This was surely a unique experience for all participating students and their feedback was a very positive one with many questions of interest about Japanese culture.

 

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St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala Form 4 students: Elisa Vella and Neville Zammit.

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Elisa Vella, Tristen Vella, Kayleen Busuttil, Neville Zammit and Aidon Muscat together with their teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc experiencing a Japanese Tea Culture Ceremony in class.

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Elisa Vella and Neville Zammit together with their teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc experiencing a Japanese Tea Culture Ceremony in class.

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc demonstrating a Japanese Tea Culture Ceremony to a Form 4 R.E. programme class.

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala students: Elisa Vella and Neville Zammit together with their teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc experiencing a Japanese Tea Culture Ceremony in class.

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala student: Neville Zammit and Tristen Vella enjoying a cup of Japanese Tea in Tea Culture Ceremony held in class.

2020-11-20T10:10:50+00:00 November 20th, 2020|