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This year, the first day of Lunar New Year, and the beginning of the Year of the Ox, falls on Friday 12th February. In China, this special date marks the start of Spring Festival – two weeks of celebrations with family, food, fireworks and gifting hongbao (red envelopes).

During the Spring Festival, a popular tradition is to make a wish for the year ahead and hang it from a wishing tree. The most famous wishing trees are in Lam Tsuen, Hong Kong. There are four in total at the shrine, one for career, academic and wealth wishes; one for marriage and pregnancy wishes; one for all wishes. The fourth tree is considered the most special – here worshippers tie their wishes to an orange, making a bao die. This is thrown up into the tree – if it hangs, your wishes will come true. Traditionally these wishes were written on joss paper, after burning joss sticks.

You can read more about the history and importance of wishing trees in this short blog by Ricefield placement student Xiaochun Shen.

A highlight of Ricefield Arts’ Chinese New Year celebrations each year is displaying our own wishing tree in Kelvin Hall, Glasgow. Visitors to our annual activity day write their wishes and tie them to the tree, before enjoying an afternoon of fun games, sports and crafts.

With many restrictions in place over the Spring Festival period, this year we would like to invite our community to make their wishes for the Year of the Ox online. At the end of February we’ll feature these wishes on our website along with our tree – it will be our collective vision for the year ahead.

This year it may feel difficult to look to the future. Try to visualise your dreams, hopes and ambitions – small or big, for yourself or for your loved ones. What are you wishing for in 2021?