One of the many beliefs in this part of the world is that spirits - literally ghosts - inhabit the trees. They can be mischievous, and as with all other spirits, if not appeased, could bring bad luck or harm to a person. So to keep the ghosts happy and the good luck flowing, the trees get wrapped in brightly-colored swaths of silk and adorned with all manner of accessories like flowers and trinkets and the like. While visiting some ancient temple ruins outside of the Thai city of Chiang Rai on New Years Eve, the locals were preparing a huge silk banner to wrap around the trunk of a massive tree on the temple grounds during the midnight celebration. With a minimal offering, you could write your name on the silk, ensuring yourself some good luck in the new year. I need all the luck I can get, so I signed right up. Here's to 2010!