Willow branches, clay oven rolls adorn Bozhou homes during Qingming

A woman carries clay oven rolls strung on wicker sticks. /CFP

A woman carries clay oven rolls strung on wicker sticks. /CFP

Several clay oven rolls are strung on wicker sticks. /CFP

Several clay oven rolls are strung on wicker sticks. /CFP

People demonstrate how to skewer clay oven rolls with willow branches. /CFP

People demonstrate how to skewer clay oven rolls with willow branches. /CFP

As Qingming Festival approaches, Bozhou in east China’s Anhui Province is abuzz with the revival of an age-old tradition. Locals are seen meticulously stringing together three to five clay oven rolls with delicate willow branches, adorning their door lintels with these symbolic offerings. This timeless custom, tracing its roots back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279), carries profound significance in the hearts of the local people.

Embedded within each meticulously crafted arrangement is a profound message of vitality and completeness. The intertwining of the vibrant willow branches with the clay oven rolls serves as a poignant symbol of the harmonious relationship between humanity and nature, reflecting the enduring bond between Bozhou people and their ancestral traditions.

Beyond its aesthetic appeal, locals attribute deeper significance to these symbolic offerings. It is believed that consuming these specially adorned clay oven rolls bestows upon children the blessings of health and vitality throughout the summer months. As grandparents lovingly gift these treats to the younger generation, they express their heartfelt wishes for their well-being and prosperity.