Many Malaysians connect ‘Chap Goh Mei’ with the traditional myth of young unmarried ladies throwing mandarin oranges inscribed with names and telephone numbers into rivers in search of a boyfriend or husband.
|2019||19 Feb||Tue||Chap Goh Mei|
|2020||8 Feb||Sat||Chap Goh Mei|
Chap Goh Mei is not an official public holiday in Malaysia. Instead it is simply a very popular festive date marked by many of Chinese descent. It is known by many as the Chinese version of Valentines’ Day.
‘Chap Goh Mei’ itself means the 15th night of Chinese New Year in Hokkien, which also marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebration.
The day is celebrated similarly to the day before Chinese New Year is celebrated –with much joy and festivity. During Chap Goh Mei, families gather over a grand meal which includes Yuan Xiao (glutinous rice balls) and homes are beautifully lit with red lanterns. 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.
Traditionally, the day is punctuated by the sounds of the love ballad called 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.
The tradition of throwing oranges originated from Penang. 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.