The annual Well-wishing Festival, an integral part of Hong Kong’s Chinese New Year celebrations, will be held at Lam Tsuen in Tai Po, from February 10-25. Visitors will have free access to the festivities between 9am and 10pm from February 10-14, and from 9am to 6pm from February 15-24.

The centrepiece of the festival is a banyan tree where visitors would write their wishes along with their names and dates of birth on a placard, tie it to a mandarin, and throw it high up on to the tree without it falling back. The belief is that the higher the mandarin hangs, the more likely one’s wish will come true.

The wishing tree that at the centre of the Lam Tsuen Well-wishing Festival.

Festival participants can also light wishing lanterns as part of the celebrations. According to posts on the festival’s Facebook page, there will also be food and dry goods stalls, game booths, and even bouncy castles at this year’s event.

The legendary 200-year-old tree is near the Tin Hau Temple in Lam Tsuen’s Fong Ma Po Village where people used to hang their wishes. However, there are now wooden frames next to the original tree where visitors can hang their offerings, and they may only tie plastic mandarins to the tree branches. In addition, there is a younger banyan tree inside the village as well as a plastic wishing tree where visitors can also place their wishes.

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As the original tree is now cordoned off to protect it, visitors may now only use plastic mandarins to hang their scrolls on the plastic tree and wooden frames next to the other tree. There is also a wishing well that was created in 2011 where festival participants can light small lotus lamps and set them afloat as they make a wish.

This year’s Chinese New Year celebrations in Hong Kong will also see the return of the city’s famed fireworks show that traditionally takes place on the second day of the festival at Victoria Harbour. This is the first time that the display will take place in five years, having been cancelled in 2019 due to social unrest and thereafter because of the government’s anti-Covid regulations that prohibited large-scale gatherings.

Image credits: Hong Kong Tourism Board

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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