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Planting a Tree For a New Baby
A tree to symbolise new life
What better way to celebrate the arrival of a new baby than by planting a tree in their honour.
Trees have been an important symbol of life and community for centuries, and tree-planting ceremonies were a traditional way to mark births, weddings and other important life events.
There's no reason that this ancient custom can't be used today, with a modern twist.
Last year, we planted a tree for our baby boy, surrounded by close friends and family. It was a memorable moment, and it makes me happy to see that tree every time I pass it.
Importance of trees
Trees have always been revered
Throughout cultures and history, trees have been respected and worshipped as sacred and powerful living things. Villages were built around them, they were used medicinally, for shelter and as a meeting place.
- Wishing trees exist around the world as a place for visitors to hang meaningful objects, wishes or other items
- The Tree of Life is a universal symbol seen from Ancient Egypt to Europe to the Rastafarian movement and many traditions in between
- Some countries - such as Lebanon - respect trees so much that they feature one on their national flag
- Some trees are seen as oracles, such as the oak of Dodona or the Sri Lankan Bo tree
- The Celts are famous for worshipping trees such as the oak, thorn, apple and hazel tree. They believed these trees were magical and housed fairies.
- The Christmas Tree is a popular symbol and tradition that evolved from German tree celebrations that are centuries old.
Tree planting poll
What do you think about the idea of tree-planting for a new baby?
Why do we need trees?
Trees are valuable for our health & environment
Planting a tree isn't only a way to celebrate a baby's birth. It's also a home for wildlife, benefits the environment and much more.
Tree of Life items
The Tree of Life symbol is centuries old.
It appears in the Bible as well as sacred texts, art and literature from dozens of cultures. Depending on its origin, the Tree has different meanings but it nearly always represents the interconnectedness of all living things.
I love this symbol and what it stands for, and think it makes a meaningful and attractive decoration.
Our tree-planting ceremony
Organising a tree-planting ceremony for baby
When my son was 3 months old, we organised a tree-planting party for him with some of our closest friends and family. We chose a baobab, a traditional African tree suited to our climate here in the tropics. Baobabs are revered in African villages: they provide a very nutritious seed, leaves and bark that can eaten or used medicinally. It is used for shelter, clothing, decoration and many other things. It's also a very powerful, sacred and beautiful tree that we thought represented our baby. After all, it is known as the "tree of life" in the savannah regions where it is loved.
We first buried the placenta in the hole my husband dug (it had been saved in a plastic bag in the freezer after the birth). Then, our guests were each given a small piece of paper to write a wish or message for our baby's future. Everybody took turns to drop these well wishes in the hole. We then asked several of the children present to help plant and water the tree. It was a beautiful evening. Afterwards, we shared a nice meal together while people enjoyed cuddling our precious boy.
Pictures below are mine and are copyrighted.
Burying messages with the tree
Planting the baobab
How to organise a tree planting
Daniel Butler describes the significance and tradition behind tree-planting ceremonies so beautifully that I almost wish I could re-do ours. This illustrated book goes through the act of tree planting thoroughly: why to do it, what it means, and most importantly how to do it. His practical sections - such as how to build a hedge - are detailed and clear. But my favourite section describes the history of tree-planting ceremonies for birth, marriage and other life events throughout different cultures. A fascinating and inspiring book.
Where to plant?
It's a great idea to plant the tree in a place that your child can visit regularly as they grow up. Consider planting in your garden, or in a grandparent's or friend's garden if you think you'll move house (or live in an apartment!)
Tree planting ceremony in South Africa
The Meaning of Trees
There are no words to describe the beauty in this book. The photographs are of great quality, and the author's passion for the subject jumps out from the pages. It's a pleasure to read cover-to-cover, or simply to flick through the awe-inspiring pictures taken of trees all around the world.
Planting your tree
Planting a tree seems simple enough, but it's best to do it properly to encourage the best growth and healthiest tree possible. This short and simple video explains how.
Which tree to choose?
Planting a tree for your baby sounds like a great idea. But which tree to choose? Of course, you'll need to consider practical things like the climate, and how much space you have. You don't want to have to uproot such an important tree if it gets bigger than you planned!
But most important is the value that the tree represents. Which one of these is for you?
Almond - perfection and purity
Apple - health and fertility
Ash - safety and protection
Beech - understanding and sustenance
Birch - new beginnings and renewal
Cedar - wisdom
Cherry- purity and beauty
Cltrus trees - energy and health
Elm - communication
Eucalyptus - balance
Fig - good fortune and abundance
Holly - truth
Linden tree - peace and healing
Magnolia - dignity
Maple - expansion
Oak - power and courage
Olive - peace and tolerance
Palm tree - trust and acceptance
Pear - comfort and abundance
Pine - vitality and life force
Poplar - protection
Walnut - confidence and intelligence
Willow - harmony and serenity
The choices are endless! For more tree meanings, I like this tree meanings website.
Tree Folklore and Symbolism
If you're about to choose a tree or plant in honour of a child, you'll probably want to know what it represents. This book includes the meanings, history and significance of hundreds of trees, plants and flowers. Whether you want to find a tree that represents hope, strength, joy or any other value this book will help you out.Even if you're not choosing a tree, it's fascinating text. You'll be interested to read about plant history going back to the 13th century, old superstitions and traditions as well as medicinal and magical uses. Accompanied by detailed drawings, it's a must for those who love plants and history.
Pick a side
Which value is more important in a tree for you?
Top Ten Amazing Trees
I love this little video for inspiration. What amazing things trees are!