For those of you wondering if there is such a thing as too many wishes, have a look at Lam Tsuen village’s wishing tree in Tai Po, which had to be fenced off yesterday after one of its branches broke and fell under the weight of too many New Year’s yearnings.
On the first three days of the Lunar New Year, hundreds of Hongkongers head to Lam Tsuen village to make a wish on the famous tree. In this annual tradition, people write down their wishes on pieces of red paper, attach them to oranges and throw them at the tree. If the orange lodges on a branch, the wish will come true, or so it’s believed.
If your orange doesn’t lodge itself on a branch the first time, or is hanging a bit too low, then guests are allowed to pick it up and try again.
But at about 6pm on Wednesday, eye witnesses at the scene told RTHK that one visitor — who was not happy that their wish had caught onto a lower branch — pulled on his orange and in the process managed to pull down an entire branch.
No one was injured, and the branch, about six feet by five feet, was taken away by three men.
(It remains unclear whether the wishes lodged on the fallen branch were immediately disqualified, or if the person who broke the branch is now, in fact, cursed.)
According RTHK, the incident prompted the event’s organizers top install a metal fence around the tree to prevent visitors from getting too close to it.
The metal fence, unsurprisingly, irked some superstitious visitors who couldn’t have another stab at throwing their wishes onto the tree.
Others, however, acknowledged that although the fence was inconvenient, safety is important.
For those who really wanted to have another go at making a wish, there were people at the sidelines armed with rakes ready to pull in stray oranges for round two, three, or however many attempts might be required to lodge (get it? lodge?) a formal wish.
Local media reports that the Lam Tsuen wishing tree is actually an artificial tree that was installed by the authorities 10 years ago.
After the 2005 incident, the wishing tree tradition was briefly replaced with a wooden frame next to the original site of the tree, and visitors would hang their wishes on it instead.
Then in 2009, as part of a tourism revival plan for Tai Po, authorities revived the wishing tree tradition and bought the 11-meter artificial tree from the city of Guangzhou in Guangdong province.