Stalls all over Warsaw have been selling, along with tight bunches of unopened tulips, stems of furry buds. Pussy willow is the harbinger of early spring and people carry stems almost reverently. There is still a hint of snow in their first furriness, but as they open they spill out the yellowness of sunshine.
The flowering shoots of pussy willow are used for spring religious decoration on Palm Sunday, as a replacement for palm branches in places such as Poland where palms don’t grow. The sprigs are often blessed in church and kept throughout the year.
Further afield, the simplicity and many buds make it a favourite flower for Chinese New Year, representing prosperity with its silkiness and jade colouring. In early spring, you can buy stalks from wet market vendors or supermarkets. At home, the stalks are often decorated with gold and red, also signifying prosperity and happiness.
(Thank you, Wikipedia, for this information.)
Thank you for beginning what might be an addiction to the world of challenges, Gilly.