After our visit to the Kadoorie Farm, we went to visit the famous Wishing Tree in Tai Po. The Wishing Tree is in Lam Tsuen Village, Tai Po, New Territories.
The tree is very famous for fulfilling wishes – but the tree is also very old. Tradition was to tie one’s wish (written on a scroll) to an orange and throw it at the tree. If it stuck, one’s wish would come true and the higher the branch, the sooner it would be realized. During the Lunar New Year of 2005 a couple of branches had broken and injured some worshipers.
You can still pray next to the tree, but you can’t go near it anymore and you can’t throw your wishes at the old tree. Next to the tree are old ladies, who guard a couple of chairs and tables. They hand out packages of colorful paper, wrapped around each other. This is the paper to make wishes with!
You buy one paper from them, unwrap it and then write your wishes on the yellow paper that is folded inside.
Quincy and I sat down, and we started to prepare our paper for the wishes. The old lady told us in which order to write the wishes on the paper, to ensure they come true.
After we wrote our wishes for health, luck and prosperity, the old lady folded the papers again and wrapped them in a bundle. She lit thick incense sticks and placed them inside the paper too, three sticks for me and three sticks for Quincy. With these sticks inside the paper, we had to bow towards the tree and think about our wishes, to ensure they come true.
Afterwards, the incense sticks are removed and placed inside a big sand bowl in front of the tree, where they burn for quite some time. The old lady used some old paper to disperse the incense fumes and while she was doing this, she prayed to the gods to fulfill our wishes. Afterwards she gave us the yellow and red papers (which had our wishes written on) back, wrapped them up and told us to hang them on the wooden frames next to the tree – in the rows next to our animal zodiac sign.
Once that’s done, we had to bow and say our final prayers to the tree. This time without any papers or incense sticks.
Only after following all these steps meticulously would we stand a chance that the old tree would grant our wishes – so we had to pay the old lady again, to ensure she keeps thinking positive things about us and our wishes, and then we were allowed to leave. It’s an interesting tradition, but I am hoping it works! If it does, I’ll be back soon!