Tree Hugging in Santanyí

Hug a tree or, even better, plant a tree. That’s the motto of Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year for Trees. Tu Bishvat is one of the four Jewish new years (Rosh Hashanahs), and this year’s Tu Bishvat is marked for today, January 24th. As always, festivities start with nightfall on the day before, i. e. Tu Bishvat already started last night after sun down. The tree day marks the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle. As it happens, here in Mallorca the New Year for Trees coincides pretty much with the almond blossom season which now is at the brink of breaking into full gear. And you don’t have to be Jewish to join in the celebrations, or the tree hugging.

The Jewish festival of Tu Bishvat always coincides with the full moon. January’s full moon in Mallorca could be admired last night, and yet again we were blessed with another lovely lunar sight. It will probably be a splendid sight again tonight, all going well.

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We are planning to do some tree hugging on our land today, at Son Alegre. If you want to join us, feel free to come along. We will also plant a tree today, a pomegranate tree (Punica granatum). Of course you could hug any tree today, anywhere in Mallorca; it doesn’t even have to be your own tree. Any tree will do, anywhere. And any faith will do; trees don’t mind if you are Jewish, Catholic or Muslim, you might even be agnostic. That’s quite alright for trees as well.

Should you be inclined to plant a tree on your own land, here are some suggestions. Depending on your garden or the size of land that you have available you could plant a young orange or lemon tree. Or an almond tree, to keep in with the spirit of the season. We would, however, recommend a pomegranate tree (Punica granatum) which grows fast, gives a lovely flower and produces a very healthy fruit. An olive tree would also be a nice choice but, the olive is relatively slow in growing to full maturity. Or, why not plant a tamarisk tree (Tamarix gallica) which has a delightful pink flower and is ever so pleasing to the eye.  You will see its flowers coming out any time soon, in March and April. Anyway, the second half of January is a perfect time for tree planting of whatever kind so, don’t be shy. And if  no tree planting is possible, don’t despair. Just hug a tree. Or two.

Happy New Year of the Trees, everybody.

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And thank you John Hinde for the photographs, as always.

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