It is 5 degrees Fahrenheit in Nuanquan, China, and a blacksmith dressed in a wide-brimmed straw hat and sheepskin vest hurls ladle after ladle of molten iron at a massive, icy wall. The collision between the 2,900-degree Fahrenheit liquid metal and the frozen brick creates a waterfall of sparks cascading over him, equally beautiful and dangerous.
This performance is a 500-year-old tradition in Nuanquan known as Da Shuhua, which translates literally to “beating down the tree flowers,” a name borne from the agricultural practice of hitting fruit trees to stimulate growth. The fireworks resemble falling blossoms.
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