It happened to be a wonderfully bright day last Sunday and therefore my family and I went trekking to a really nice locale close to Morecambe Bay known as Arnside Knott. Once we started our descent a female rambler adjacent to to us called out “I have got one”. In all honesty I did not know whether to congratulate her or to telephone for a medic. It transpires that the woman was referring to a penny the strategy for which was that a kid that happened to be with her would push it in to the bark of a tree. What a strange thing to attempt I thought.

And so on my return home I searched Wikepedia to see if I may attain a bit more enlightenment. It turns out that this is quite a popular custom.  For example a bush even now grows next to Ardmaddy House in Argyll, Scotland, a may tree, that is a type traditionally connected with fecundity. The trunk and branches are covered with countless small coins that happen to be hammered completely through the bark and into the wood. The local tradition is that a request should be granted for each of the pennies so treated.

It appears then the penny in question was to be able to make a request in what is called a “wish tree” or “wishing tree” and that it is a practice that has been carried on for generations. The one particular note of warning though is the fact that someone who removes a coin from the tree shall catch whatever illness the person was suffering from who inserted the coin in the bark in the first place. Not merely alive trees are used, as I have done an extensive crawl of pubs I will confirm that some public houses, such as the Punch Bowl in Askham, near Penrith in Cumbria, have got ancient beams with fissures in them into which pennies are forced for luck.

Moreover coin trees are not the only forms of wishing trees. It is possible to also find Clootie Trees that exist close to Clootie Wells, these are actually sites of pilgrimage in Celtic Regions. They're wells or springs, almost always involving a tree growing near them, where remnants of material or rags have been left, usually strapped to the arms of the tree as part of a healing ritual. In Scots nomenclature, a "clootie" or "cloot" is a strip of cloth or rag. Other variants from this around the world consist of

· A tree in Argentina referred to as Walleechu, decorated with things such as cigars, food, water, cloth, etc., hanging from the arms by showy fingers of coloured yarn

· The Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees may be located in Hong Kong. Here burnt joss paper strapped to an orange is thrown into the trees, in the belief that if the paper actually hangs onto one of the tree branches, a wish will come true.

· Eglinton Castle estate has contained a wish tree for a great number of years, a yew on an island in middle of Lugton Water, now left high and drydue to the weir giving way.

· The Christmas tree is often thought of as being a pagan symbol connected with tree worship, clearly linked with good luck accomplished by offerings (decoration) to and veneration of specific trees.

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Author's Bio: 

Bruno Blackstone is a freelance writer interested in all things to do with the outdoors and helping others get the most from the outdoors. Starting with a psychology degree his early career was as a social worker and family therapist working with families to help them achieve more positive and stable relationships. In his more recent career he has coached many senior executives in both small and large organisations in areas such as strategy, human resources, organisational design and performance improvement. He now continues his work in the business world but he is also co-owner of a price comparison site for outdoor enthusiasts.