Chap Goh Mei : A festival of romance and lanterns!
Chap Goh Mei (also known as the Lantern Festival – not to be confused with the Mid-Autumn Festival) is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The term ‘Chap Goh Mei’, which derives from the Hokkien dialect, also represents the final day of the Lunar New Year period and the day auspiciously coincides with the first full moon of the New Year.
The day is celebrated similarly to how Chinese New Year Eve is celebrated –with much joy and festivity. The occasion is marked by feasting and various festivities, including the consumption of glutinous rice balls and homes are beautifully lit with red lanterns. The air is festive and bright with lion dance, dragon dance, firecrackers and various other traditional performances. At the temples during Chap Goh Mei, people offer prayers to the God of Prosperity to bless their family with good fortune for the coming year.
In traditional Chinese culture, the Lantern Festival is also known as the Yuan Xiao Festival. In Southeast Asia, however, it is known by many as the Chinese version of Valentines’ Day. A day when young unmarried ladies gather to toss mandarin oranges inscribed with their names and telephone numbers into a river, in the hopes that their future spouse will pick up their orange or rather, 'choose them' – a custom that originated in Penang, Malaysia. If you visit the Esplanade at Penang there are competitions where boys in boats are required to scoop up oranges thrown into the sea by girls, and the boat with the most oranges wins the competition. Activities like these are carried out to keep the traditions alive. In Penang, the day is traditionally punctuated by the sounds of the love ballad titled Dondang Sayang that is sung in streets to the instruments of a violin, two drums and a gong. Sometimes this becomes comedy when the lyrics are changed by the singers.
Spelling error in my comment below. Middle of 2nd paragraph.
..........and the girls would spottingly become friends............
spottingly should have been spelled sportingly. My apologies. Tq. KSD
Your article said :" A day when young unmarried ladies gather to toss mandarin oranges inscribed with their names and telephone numbers into a river, in the hopes that their future spouse will pick up their orange or rather, 'choose them' – a custom that originated in Penang, Malaysia. If you visit the Esplanade at Penang there are competitions where boys in boats are required to scoop up oranges thrown into the sea by girls, and the boat with the most oranges wins the competition."
If this is the custom then the boys in the boat should not scoop more than 1 orange each. Or else the guy with 10 oranges has 10 chances of meeting a future spouse - not fair to the others !!! I am guessing before the telephone was introduced or became common household item, these girls only wrote their names on the oranges and during that time the population was not very big so they could easily trace the name and the girls would spottingly become friends with the finder. Whether they became the spouse or not, I am not sure what the tradition is. As someone who was born in Penang and spent 1/2 my childhood there, I think one orange one possible future spouse should be the rule. If it doesn't work she is not the one for you. Maybe next year's name on the orange is your one or the next year or the next.... Hope someone meets his spouse this year. Kuldip Singh s/o Durbara.