Thursday, 16 February 2012

Chaps Can Go Meh?

This week, valentines day has come and gone!
But last week I got to witness the Chinese Valentines day first hand... of sorts
From young, all I've known about Chap Goh Meh
was that it had something to do with throwing oranges into bodies of water

Oddly enough a quick search online on Chap Goh Meh returns information totally foreign to me
First of all it redirects my query to Lantern Festival...
and this was what it says
"The Lantern Festival (also known as the Yuanxiao Festival or Shangyuan Festival in China; Chap Goh Meh Festival in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore; Yuen Siu Festival in Hong Kong, and "Tết Thượng Nguyên" or "Tết Nguyên Tiêu" in Vietnam); is a festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar year in the Chinese calendar, the last day of the lunisolar Chinese New Year celebration. 

During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns (simplified Chinese: 猜灯谜; traditional Chinese: 猜燈謎; pinyin: cāidēngmí). It officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations."

Wha...? there are lanterns?...
further googling, revealed more familiar territory...

On the fifteenth day of Chinese New Year, technically the final day of the festival, is a day known as Chap Goh Mei. In the Hokkien dialect, Chap Goh Mei simply means "the 15th night". On a celebratory point of view, this night sees the gathering of family members as they sit down to a meal together. Offerings and prayers are also held on a grand scale on this particular night.

Chap Goh Mei is also known as the Chinese Valentine's Day. One of the fun activities that take place on this auspicious night includes the throwing of oranges into the sea by these young maidens. It is believed that by throwing tangerines into the sea, these young girls would find themselves a good husband.

So why the sudden interest you say?...
Well this year I finally got to witness first hand a little bit of the hoohaa involved with Chap Go Meh..
but it was certainly beyond my expectations...

Since I've regularly visited Taman Jaya Park for Loy Krathong,
thought for a change I'd go to Sri Permaisuri Park,
little did I know that just for orange tossing, I'd have to pay an entrance fee...

According to The STAR in 2011
"Entrance fee is RM15 for those who are interested to toss the fruits, and a goodie bag containing the fruits and marker pen will be given to the participants.
There would be a levy of RM2 for those who want to take a closer look at the fruits tossing ceremony at the pond area. Otherwise, entry is free."

I was surprised at the number of guys at the event..
not because they were there to watch.. but because they were there to participate
then I vaguely recalled that in recent years guys have joined the fun
and throw banana's instead...
 hmmm if guys throw phallic symbols,
(i) does that mean they are removing their masculinity?!?
(ii) what does the orange represent for girls :s

More than just orange throwing,
there were coin tossing and bell ringing,

love notes,

 romantic boat "rides"

with gifts and secondhand sales
and more than just taking chances on soulmates, there was the chance for prosperity!

Ironically at the end of the night, we were tired and didn't bother to pay the entrance fee
so no orange or banana tossing for me this year...

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