Hong Kong Well-wishing Festival 2023 to be held at Lam Tsuen, Tai Po on 5th February after being cancelled in the past 2 years due to pandemic

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Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees

17th December 2022 – (Hong Kong) From 1st day of Lunar New Year till 5th February 2023 (from the first day of the Lunar New Year to the fifteenth day of the first lunar month), the Hong Kong Well-wishing Festival 2023 at Lam Tsuen, Tai Po will be held. Visitors can go to Lam Tsuen to make a wish in front of the two wishing trees or light lotus lanterns to pray for blessings, and experience Chinese New Year celebrations with local characteristics.

In 2023, the Lam Tsuen wishing trees at the square will be open from 8.30am to 6.30pm from the first day to the fifteenth day of the Lunar New Year. The public are advised to use public transportation to go to Lam Tsuen as much as possible to relieve road congestion. During the opening hours of the Well-wishing Festival 2023, KMB will arrange a special bus route “63R” to travel between Lam Tsuen and MTR Tai Po Market Station. The Hong Kong Well-wishing Festival has been cancelled in the past two years due to the epidemic.

The Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees  are a popular shrine in Hong Kong located near the Tin Hau Temple in Fong Ma Po VillageLam Tsuen. The temple was built around 1768 or 1771,  during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor in the Qing dynasty (1644–1912).

The two banyan trees are frequented by tourists and locals during the Lunar New Year. Previously, they burnt joss sticks, wrote their wishes on joss paper tied to an orange, then threw them up to hang in these trees. It was believed that if the paper successfully hung onto one of the tree branches, these wishes would come true.

This practice was discouraged by the authorities after 12th February 2005, when one of the branches gave way and injured two people. Instead, wooden racks are set up in place for joss papers to be hung while a period of conservation is imposed to help these trees recover and flourish.

On 12th February 2005, the fourth day of the Chinese New Year, one of the branches was broken due to the large amount of oranges and paper offerings that were thrown onto the banyan tree. The accident injured a man aged 62 and a four-year-old boy. Tree experts soon examined the structure and condition of the wishing tree, and concluded that all unhealthy branches would be removed, and wounds on the tree had been treated to avoid infection.  As a result, the throwing of “Bao Die” was quickly prohibited by the government after the incident,  meanwhile reinforcing the wishing tradition by letting people hang the offerings on a wooden frame placed next to the original banyan tree. Due to the lack of attractiveness of the attraction, a new plastic tree from Guangzhou was purchased in late 2009; plastic mandarin oranges are now only allowed to be tied to the branches. The tradition was able to continue since then.

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