The Wishing Tree
The next stop of the leisurely afternoon was to visit the Wishing Tree at Lam Tsuen, Taipo, first time for the family.
The local Chinese New Year practice of wishing upon this particular banyan tree at Lam Tsuen follows a very colourful tradition – throwing “Bao Die” literally meaning “precious plate” to the tree to get it successfully hung up on the branches for wishes to come true. This “Bao Die” includes an orange tied with a yellow paper on which the name and wishes of the worshipper are written.
However, as years went by, the tree gradually gave way to the heavy load of “Bao Die” and on Feb 12, 2005, the fourth day of the Chinese New Year, one of the branches snapped injuring an elderly man and a young boy. The tree was subsequently diagnosed to be infected and had to be left to heal. The tradition of throwing “Bao Die” was soon banned. Months later, a fake plastic 25-foot small-leaved banyan tree was erected for worshippers to carry on the tradition. This time, even the oranges thrown are also plastic.
Hayley, my grand-daughter said that the original tree standing there near the narrow entrance with its branches supported by various structures looked “extremely sad”. I had to agree. It did resemble an elderly celebrity lady from the last century wearing heavy make-up making her appearance on crutches.
Instead, the plastic tree with its luxuriant foliage and the many red “Bao Die” right in the centre of the Lam Tsuen Wishing Square is one young athlete flexing his muscles before a game!
We had a tour of the square including the temple and the award-winning washrooms. We also enjoyed the local cuisines of the sweet bean curd and the tea cake.
That is how Vincent, my son and wife spend their weekends – going places with Hayley. The difference this Sunday was with me tagging along as the chauffeur! They treasure every moment of it to make up for their not being able to spend much time with Hayley during the week days especially when Vincent has to work across the border.