The modern times have bought out a whole new list of dating apps, but somehow finding true love or even a date is a daunting task for the younger generation. Before the dating apps became a routine, the people used creative ideas through rich cultural traditions to fulfill their romantic aspirations. On the fifteenth day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, unmarried maidens gather on the beach following an ancient matchmaking tradition of throwing oranges into the river. This age-old and unique tradition promises these young maidens a loving and caring spouse. You would be surprised to know that this tradition is practiced even today as one of the most popular Malaysian festivals in smaller towns.
New Year celebrations bring a broad smile in not only Chinese kids, but the entire Malaysian population. The vivid celebrations of the Malaysian festival, Chap Goh Mei goes well into its fifteenth day. It’s a beautiful tradition and gives an impressive feeling exchanging ang paus between married folks and single ones. The last day or the fifteenth day of the festival is known as Chap Goh Mei or the Chinese Valentine’s Day. Family members gather together for a dinner meal and offer prayers and sacrifices on a grand scale. The celebrations begin with the pomp of fireworks and firecrackers as the homes are decorated with red lanterns and bright lights to mark this auspicious occasion. Thanksgiving and prayers are offered at temples as devotees ask for prosperity, success, and wealth in the coming year.
Depending on which part of the town you are, the degree of celebrations varies accordingly. In some parts, there would be lantern displays, the iconic Chingay procession, lion dances, and cultural performances. People expect loads of fun and happiness with this auspicious Malaysian festival as this festival is considered the ideal time for matchmaking. The younger generation head to the temples dressed in the best in search of their prospective soul mates. In some parts of the town, the vivid celebrations also feature throwing of oranges into the River by the younger generation. One of the most colorful and vibrant moments in the history of Chap Goh Mei festivities. There is a belief that young females would find a good husband by dispersing the bright tangerines into the River. An age-old tradition states that if an unmarried single notice these tangerines floating in the water and pick it up, they would find a kind and loving spouse.
Young Maidens searching and flirting for their Mr. Right
Many young Chinese females state that they write their name and contact details with a marker pen on the orange they throw into the sea. Any guy who notices the floating orange and picks it up to get an instant access to choose the girl they would like to call for a date. Thousands of the sea wishes float in George Town in the front of Fort Cornwallis, an ancient fort which has witnessed these bright oranges floating since so many years. This fort is part of the exclusive UNESCO World Heritage Sites, one of the best places to fulfill your romantic dreams. The golden fruit of the tangerines converts into a love bait on this auspicious day of the Malaysia festival. The Penang Island is also known as the Island of Pearls, with the oranges referring to the floating pearls in the sea. The legends state that if you find your soul mate and hear the wedding bells, it is an opportunity for you to go for a honeymoon.
Love is blind on this Malaysia festival
The famous promenade in George Town is decorated with floating tangerines and is a real testimony to the fact that love is blind. The younger generation often considers this festival as a free festival for flirting, missing the entire concept of this auspicious day. If no one picks up the oranges, the young maidens feel that there would be divine intervention to connect the soul mates. The religious response is considered to be the matchmaker from the moon.
The best part of this tradition is that people believe that this is a tradition that has passed forth to Malaysia due to the immense Chinese population residing in Malaysia. But, this is not true. The festival originated in Penang, a small Malaysian Island towards the end of the 19th century. Penang Island can claim copyrights of this Chinese Valentine’s day tradition. A small cultural tradition with a very humble beginning has garnered enormous attention in modern times ultimately leading to blocked roads and exorbitantly priced oranges. Did someone ever say romance comes at a low price? Probably the only day in the entire year when the young maidens are officially permitted by their parents to stroll aimlessly on the streets. It is also believed that a matchmaker from the moon would end up tying red strings on either leg of prospective couples. This helps the young maidens and men to identify their soul mate.
The upcoming dates of the Chap Goh Mei Festival in the following years are as follows:
- 2nd March 2018
- 19th February 2019
- 8th February 2020
- 26th February 2021
- 15th February 2022
Being a part of the festivities of this Malaysian festival is a fun thing. Whether you participate or just observe it. Although it is no longer prevalent in big cities due to a hectic schedule, this tradition still carries its aura in smaller towns.