Eating lotus seeds and lotus leaves picked from the West Lake in summer has been a ritual and tradition of Hangzhou local citizens. Lotus seeds and leaves picked from West Lake have been well recognized and popular for its freshness and long-standing reputation. This year's first-day picking of the lotus leaves and lotus seedpods started at 5:00 am and ended at about 7:00 am yesterday.
The lotus pickers were the staff of the lake surface maintenance team of the West Lake Water Area Management Office. Boating on a dark green bathtub with the room enough for only single person, the lotus pickers were scattered among the dense lotus leaves and flowers. They were fully armed with waterproof long sleeves, trousers, hats and gloves to avoid being injured by the pricky lotus stems and were usually soaked to the skin when they were back ashore.