"Pilgrims" visit the sacred tree in Maotanchang Middle School
Hundreds of parents flooded into an alley where an old willow tree stands in Maotanchang town, East China's Anhui province, May 29, 2014 (the first day in May in the lunar calendar). The parents who had burned incense and prayed to the tree were not able to get out while more parents could not get into it on both ends of the alley.
They are parents of students from Maotanchang Middle School dubbed "gaokao Mill" that prepares a large number of students to succeed in the national college entrance exam (gaokao in Mandarin). The anxious parents believe that the tree located inside the school is sacred, so they burn incense under the tree on the first and fifteenth day of each month in the lunar calendar and pray that it will bring luck and high test scores to their children.
The major income of local government depends on "gaokao Mill". The government has adopted a policy to "promote economic growth through further developing the high school." (Guangming/Wang Wei)[ Editor: Sharon ]