Thursday, February 21, 2008

Chap Goh Mei

Today is Chap Goh Mei - the 15th day of Chinese New Year. In Hokkien, "chap goh' and 'mei' mean 'fifteen' and 'mei' respectively. It is literally 'the fifteenth night'. It is called Yuan Xiao Jie (End of 1st moon Festival) in Mandarin and marks the end of Lunar New Year.

In ancient China, girls were not usually allowed to go out of their houses. However, on Yuan Xiao Jie they were allowed out to witness the merry atmosphere of the night. They would be seen by eligible bachelors who would then send match-makers to ask for their hands in marriage. In this way, young lads and lasses had a chance to find their life-partners. That explains why Chap Goh Mei or Yuan Xiao Jie is the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day.

It has been the practise that ladies on this night will throw mandarin oranges in the hope of getting good husbands while the bachelors will throw drums to get good wives.

In Gurney Drive, Penang, competition of throwing mandarin oranges used to be held and it attracted a large crowd including foreign tourists.

Happy Yuan Xiao Jie.

2 comments:

Avee said...

Hi there, blog hopping here.

bluedreamer27 said...

wow nice blog here happy chap goh mei too
hope you had a great time celbrating it
by the way i put your blog link in my blog roll so i can visit you here ofetn have a great day