Are you crazy? In your mind you might say what a waste! But that is what happened during Chap Goh Mei!
It is true and it happens yearly in Southeast Asia countries, especially in an island in Malaysia known as Penang, the father of where the practice was started. Isn’t it strange it was not passed forth from China, you may ask.
Chap Goh Mei (a term from the Hokkien dialect and it literally means the fifteenth day of the first month), the final day of Chinese festival, is also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day. However, in some countries such as Taiwan it is celebrated as the Lantern Festival while Koreans celebrate this festival as the Daeboreum.
Just like Chinese New Year, it is celebrated with lots of fireworks and firecrackers, and this is also the night where we usually see the gathering of family members sit down for meal together, while some may want to have offerings and prayers on this special night. On this occasion, you will see many homes decorated with red lanterns and bright lights, cultural performances, lion dances and the famous Chingay procession in some parts of those Southeast Asia countries.
During Chap Goh Mei, we will see many young unmarried ladies head on to the temples, dressed in their best, with the hope of finding prospective suitors. Another interesting fun activity that takes place includes the throwing of oranges (tangerines, as some call it) into the sea/river/lake by these maidens when the moon was at its brightest in the hope to find their life partner or to make a wish. What that means is that by throwing the oranges, it signifies that they are available for marriage, and if someone picks up the floating oranges, the singles who threw it will be able to find a good partner.
My friend who did it, shortly after she threw the oranges, she got a call! When I asked how she did it, she told me she wrote her mobile phone contact number on those oranges she threw (what a creative!). I think someone with a url, could possibly do so with a url address too, right? Not only that, the last Chap Goh Mei that I observed was that there are people using fish net trying to grab those oranges, frankly, I don’t know what are they doing there, possibly oranges are expensive at that time!
In those old earlier days which are unlikely to be seen now, this is also the day where the maidens stroll the street to let the matchmaker from the moon to tie string for them. During that time men would usually gather around to catch the glimpses with the hope of some luck for something to happen. Sound interesting but unfortunately this wasn’t practiced anymore.
For those who are married, there are activities for them on this auspicious night too. For example, they can go and buy candle boats and let them drift down the river/lake/sea to see how far their love boat can go. It is believe that the farther the boat floats without the candle light going out, the longer your love with your partner will last!
Below are some traveling tips and info to your places of interest to find love:
- The Chinese New Year is usually fall in the month of January, February or March every year, so watch out for your Chap Goh Mei!
- Remember to bring your own oranges. Oranges sold on the spot would not be cheap.
- It is not safe and very unwise to write your very contact details on an orange where it would be picked up by just anyone, who could be a stalker or a pervert!
- If you are in Penang, don’t miss to make a trip to Penang Hill for a stunning view of the city and some respite from the humidity below.
- However, I still believe that the best to find your future partner is to go out, meet and know more people, or to try those established online dating sites which usually have a free trial period.
- If you are a working adult, it is good not to stay back late in your office everyday if time is a factor that hold you back for going out to date someone. (Is my boss behind me?)
So, have a happy Chap Goh Mei and may you enjoy this Chinese Valentine’s full moon night.