Tea Breaks: Wishing Tree Festival

Tea Breaks is an ongoing experiment of sorts, in an attempt to fit in a bit of the going-ons in my life. So every Monday, I talk a little bit about what happened last week, and occasionally a little bit about my own plans!

I think we still haven’t shaken off our holiday mood yet. When my classes started again last Thursday, half the class showed up late, and the other half had a vacant look on their face, their minds still on holiday. As eloquent and witty our professor is, he can’t save the mind-numbing atrocity that is property transactions.

The artificial Wishing Tree.

Even our celebrations haven’t gotten the memo that the holiday was over. On a whim, my family and I went off to the famous wishing trees in Hong Kong in Lam Tsuen Village. While everyone else wishes on shooting stars, we make our wishes by writing them down on joss paper, attaching them to an orange, and chucking it at the trees in hopes it’ll get caught in one of the branches. The higher the branch it got caught on, the higher chance it would come true.

We used to use two very real trees to do this, but after arborists declared our trees were dying under all the oranges, the practice was hastily and temporarily stopped. Now, we throw our wishes at a newly-built imitation tree, or tie the joss paper onto wooden poles erected for this purpose.

The wish trees are a very popular tourist attraction, so we expected it to be a little crowded. We didn’t, however, expect there to be a massive traffic jam leading into the village from the highway. It took us a good twenty minutes of waiting to get anywhere near the car park, and when we did arrive, it quickly became apparent why everyone was trying to queue up into the village.

Floating wish lotuses(?)

A mini-flower market had sprung up around the Wishing Trees – and a nearby placard proclaimed it to be the Well-Wishing Festival. At the front of the market, there were several people putting on a singing and dancing performance; and the floats from the Chinese New Year Night Parade on display. There were arts and crafts, farmers’ markets – a bit of a rarity, nowadays – and of course, your usual assortment of food and snacks: from your usual street food fare of siu mai, fish balls, to truffled(!) French fries and rolled up ice cream sheets made from flavoured custard spread thinly over a “crepe” machine that was chilled to subzero temperatures.

We spent two hours there, wandering around, taking photos, and snacking. By the time I got home in the evening, I was completely and utterly exhausted. Still – it was very lovely surprise. Goes on to show while the best laid plans can be waylaid, it will still turn out well!


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