Wishing Trees (Well-Wishing Festival)

Wishing Tree in the Lam Tsuen village in Hong Kong
Wishing Tree in the Lam Tsuen village in Hong Kong – how real the foam tree looks !

Happy New Year of the Snake to all who are celebrating the Spring Festival, the beginning of the Lunar New Year!

To make a wish come true, can you throw an orange onto a tree instead of a coin into a water fountain?

In my home town Hong Kong, there is a colourful cultural tradition called the Well-Wishing festival during Chinese New Year at a famous village called Lam Tsuen in Tai Po in the New Territories in Hong Kong (adjacent to the mainland China).  Lam Tsuen dates back from over 700 years ago during the Southern Song Dynasty.  Local residents and tourists from all over the world will write their wishes on joss paper and throw the paper tied with an orange (a foam one!) to lock them onto the trees.  It is believed the higher the branch you can throw the joss paper onto, the higher the chance the wishes will come true.  Besides the 2 old wishing banyan trees which are set aside for conservation, an imitation wishing tree is there for people to continue with the tradition.  People also set water lanterns afloat to express their wishes for the new year.

Releasing water lantern with wishes during the Well Wishing Festival in Hong Kong
Releasing water lantern with wishes during the Well Wishing Festival in Hong Kong (photo courtesy of Tom from JPG Group)