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
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
Tree planting ceremony in South Africa
The Meaning of Trees
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
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!
What's your favourite tree? - And would you plant one for a baby?
Jacolive on July 15, 2014:
What a great idea!
gracyelala on June 13, 2013:
I love the idea of putting notes and wishes for the child into the hole when you are planting! beautiful!
LisaDH on October 13, 2012:
My favorite tree is the oak tree in our front yard. We love it so much that it's one of the reasons we bought our house! I've never planted a tree for a baby, but I think it's a great idea. When I was little, my mom planted a fir tree in the yard of the house where I grew up. Now it towers over the entire yard. It brings back good memories for me.
Nicole Pellegrini from New Jersey on October 11, 2012:
What a beautiful lens about a fabulous idea! I love watching trees grow through the years, and to be able to tie it symbolically to the birth of a child is wonderful.
Beverly Rodriguez from Albany New York on October 11, 2012:
I love all trees! Lovely lens.
oztoo lm on October 11, 2012:
Totally love this idea. I love trees so I can't really pick a favorite.
flycatcherrr on October 10, 2012:
Mountain ash is one of my favourite trees, though such a small one, for its bird-feeding berries and pretty fall colour. In shade trees I do like a good ol' maple. Tree planting for occasions is a wonderful thing - not just for new babies but marriages and other new beginnings, too.
Itaya Lightbourne from Topeka, KS on October 09, 2012:
What a beautiful idea to plant a tree for a baby! I might do this for our grandson. Wonderful article. Angel Blessings! :)
Ahdilarum on October 09, 2012:
i have already planted two plants for my sons
ae dc on October 08, 2012:
I'd plant any tree for my future baby/babies. Great lens! *Squidliked and Blessed*