The last day of Chinese New Year, known as Chap Goh Meh, celebrates some of the best F words the Book of Life has to offer; family, food, fireworks, and finding love. It’s known mainly for the latter because of the practice of throwing oranges into the sea to catch our soulmates, but here are other traditions and fun facts that you might not have known about Chap Goh Meh:
1. Say My Name, Say My Name
The origins of the name dates back some 2,000 years ago, and is derived from the southern Hokkien dialect — ‘chap goh’ (fifteen) and ‘meh’ (night) — which reflects on the timeline that it’s celebrated during; the fifteenth day of Chinese New Year. However, in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao, this day is referred to as the ‘Lantern Festival’.
2. End the Day With a B.I.G. Bang
Lanterns, fireworks, and firecrackers are essential elements when it comes to celebrating the end of the auspicious occasion. It’s said that bright lights gets rid of troubles and negativity, which then sparks hope of everyone having a delightful year filled with good fortune and happiness.
3. Love Does Cost a Thing
Traditionally, this day was the only day of the year for young single girls to stroll the streets to meet prospective husbands. They did it by throwing oranges into the sea, and the gentlemen that found it were assumed to be destined with them. The practice became increasingly popular over the years to the point that prices of tangerines and oranges grew significantly — love isn’t cheap, after all.
4. Men Are Going Bananas
The practice of throwing oranges apparently originated from Penang at the end of the 19th century. And up until quite recently, bachelors began participating in this tradition too, but instead of throwing oranges, they’re using bananas to show you they’re the “ripe” one for you.
5. You Are What You Eat
CNY menus are exceptionally symbolic — fish brings prosperity, spring rolls signify wealth, and so on. On the final day of CNY celebrations though, it’s part of tradition to eat Tangyuan — glutinous rice balls with sugar fillings — as it represents happiness and family togetherness; no sweeter way to conclude a day than spending it with loved ones and dessert.