A Wishing Tree is an individual tree, usually distinguished by species, position or appearance, which is used as an object of wishes and offerings. Such trees are identified as possessing a special religious or spiritual value. By tradition, believers make votive offerings in order to gain from that nature spirit, saint or goddess fulfillment of a wish.

Wishing Trees are found in many different cultures around the world and although the specific rituals differ from one country to the next, what all Wishing Trees have in common is that of being places where people reconnect with what truly matters to them.

Wish Trees - myth or magic?
The Wishing Tree, Nunnington Hall Gardens, near York, UK k
Wish Trees - myth or magic?
Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree in Hong Kong. It is a tradition to make red or yellow papers called “Bao Die” on which people write down their names, dates of birth and wishes, and roll the papers and tie them with weights (usually an orange) and finally toss them up onto the Wishing Tree. Legend has it that if the “Bao Die” does not fall down, a wish would come true. Otherwise, the wish is said to be too greedy.

Wishing Trees in Turkey

Wishing Trees (Dilek Ağacı) have a long history in Turkish folklore and in rural areas in Turkey people still visit “wishing trees” to tie fabric tokens or paper tags with wishes and reflections written on them onto branches, left as ziyaret (pilgrimage) offerings for the visitor’s dreams to come true.

You can see them all over Turkey – easily recognisable by their many colourful pieces of cloths and scarves tied around their branches in rural areas. In some places, you may also see nazar hung from Wishing Trees.

Wish Trees - myth or magic?
A Wishing Tree in Alaçatı on the Çeşme Peninsula
Wishing Trees - myth or magic?
This famous wishing tree in Goreme Cappadocia is hung with “nazar”
Wish Trees - myth or magic?
Wishing Tree in Göbekli Tepe, Southeastern Anatolia. Photograph courtesy of Travel To Eat

Traditionally it is the young single girls of marriageable age who would go there to make a wish – usually for a handsome husband, by tying their scarves around the branches while making their wish. This practice itself is not a part of Islamic culture.

Local Wishing Trees

If you look carefully when you’re out and about in Fethiye and surrounding areas, you may see a Wishing Tree or two.

Wish Trees - myth or magic?
Wishing Tree in Kayaköy
Wish Trees - myth or magic?
Wishing Tree in Sarge’s Place

Next time you see a Wishing Tree, why not give it a try?

Sources – Wikipedia/Bodrum Bulletin/Nomadic Son