Thousands Flock to Hong Kong’s Wishing Tree for Lunar New Year Blessings


Amid the vibrant celebrations of the Chinese Lunar New Year, a unique tradition in Hong Kong attracts tens of thousands to the Lam Tsuen village. Here, participants throw oranges attached with wishes onto a tree, hoping for their dreams to materialize. This centuries-old custom, blending hope and tradition, continues to draw crowds despite a shift from a real to a plastic tree following an accident in 2005.

A Tradition of Hope and Happiness

Participants from across Hong Kong and mainland China journey to the wishing tree, a practice dating back over a century. With aspirations for health, happiness, and prosperity written on red paper, these wishes are tied to oranges and hurled at the tree. Success is marked by an orange lodging on a branch, symbolizing the forthcoming realization of the wish. This year, Frank Fung, a young computer engineer, and Xiao Xiaomei, who wished for a child last year and is now expecting, shared their joyous experiences of seeing their dreams take a step towards reality.

Adapting Tradition Over Time

The original banyan tree, a victim of the sheer volume of wishes, was replaced by a plastic replica to prevent accidents like that of 2005 when a branch broke and injured two visitors. Despite this change, the spirit of the festival remains unchanged, with plastic fruit now used to safeguard participants. The evolution of the wishing tree, from real to artificial, underscores the community’s commitment to preserving this unique tradition while adapting to ensure safety.

Cultural Significance and Continuing Popularity

The wishing tree tradition, initially started by Chinese fishermen, has become a significant part of Hong Kong’s Lunar New Year celebrations, reflecting the city’s rich cultural tapestry. Luke Lam, the festival’s organizer and a lifelong resident of Lam Tsuen, recalls the origins and growth of this tradition, emphasizing its role in local customs and the Lunar New Year’s broader celebrations. Despite changes and challenges, the wishing tree continues to be a beacon of hope, drawing more than 10,000 visitors each day during the holiday period, eager to partake in this blend of tradition and aspiration.

As oranges soar towards the branches of Lam Tsuen’s wishing tree, they carry with them the hopes and dreams of thousands. This enduring tradition not only showcases Hong Kong’s rich cultural heritage but also serves as a reminder of the power of community, tradition, and the universal desire for a brighter future. Whether it’s a wish for personal joy, health, or prosperity, the wishing tree stands as a testament to the enduring human spirit, inviting all to dream and hope under its branches.





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