Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chinese Valentine's Day

Today is Chap Goh Mei or the 15th day of the first month the lunar calendar and the last day of Chinese New Year. Chap Goh Mei is the equivalent of Valentine's Day because in ancient China, this was the day the maidens would be out looking for eligible bachelors for marriage and the lads would be scouting for life partners.

Usually, in Penang there will activities such as throwing mandarin oranges into the river or sea. It is believed the man who manages to pick up the mandarin orange thrown by a maiden will be the future husband of the said maiden. This is because mandarin orange is called 'kam' in Hokkien and it rhymes with 'ang' or husband. Hence there is the saying which goes 'Tim kam chua hor ang' or 'throwing a mandarin orange will get a good husband'.

As for the lad, he will throw a drum so as to get a good wife. Drum in Hokkien is 'kor' and it rhymes with 'bor' or wife. Hence there is the saying 'tim kor chua hor bor' or 'throwing a drum will get a good wife.'

I suppose there will be a lot of activities going on at Gurney where the throwing of mandaring oranges and drums will be done to celebrate Chap Goh Mei.

So much for Chap Goh Mei.

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