With the Beijing Olympics beginning tomorrow, I figured it would be a great time to share a few things I’ve learned about the Chinese culture. Specifically, the tea-related parts, which have pretty much infused themselves into every aspect of the Chinese lifestyle. The Chinese take and serve tea for a multitude of reasons: as a sign of respect, as a wedding ceremony, not to mention an integral part of every social outing.

sorry we took all the gold medals!One famous way that the old-school Chinese infused tea into their lives was as a form of apology (I’m told they’ve since added the phrase “I’m sorry” to their vernacular). As any master of any of the world’s tea ceremonies will tell you, the art of preparing tea necessitates one to concentrate the mind to a simple purpose. In an almost meditative way, one must submit the self for the brewing beverage. The Ancient Chinese translated this feeling into real-life situations: by serving tea to someone you’ve upset (say, because you put shaving cream on their car when you were 12 then blamed it on the neighbor’s kid), it is a sign of submission and regret (Mom, you’ve got a steamy cup waiting for you!).