Chinese New Year Flashback: Chap Goh Meh

More than 50,000 people reportedly made a beeline for the Esplanade in Penang where the Chap Goh Mei celebration was held on 28 February to mark the end of the Chinese New Year festivities. Chap Goh Meh, ( ) which literally means fifteen night in the Hokkien dialect refers to the fifteenth day of the first month when the first full moon of the New Year appears. This day is said to be traditionally celebrated as the Lantern Festival ( 元宵节) or the Shang Yuan Festival, not the Mid-Autumn Festival please- the latter being a harvest festival held very much later, in the eight month of the Chinese calendar to be exact. Thuan Hee and I were at the esplanade on Chap Goh Meh and we did not see people carrying lanterns, not here in Penang and definitely not elsewhere in Malaysia. There was a concert of course, and a singer in a red dress was belting out jazzy Chinese classics. For the very first time too, I heard a master of ceremony speaking in the local Penang-flavoured Hokkien dialect. It was a hot day and many people were fanning themselves with free plastic fans given by a telephone company. The night was young but since it was uncomfortably warm and Mission Impossible 3 was in the idiot box, we decided to make back to Thuan Hee's house where I was putting up the night. We did not explore the ground and therefore, did not witness any throwing of Mandarin oranges into the sea activities by young maidens who hope to find their true love. This purportedly age-old tradition most probably is not practised by Chinese elsewhere, but then, this is Chinese New Year, Malaysian style or more specifically Penang-style. Crowds even get to listen to Dondang Sayang here; Dondang Sayang which is very much loved by the Peranakan Chinese are sung in Malay and they are Portuguese-influenced Love Song originating in Malacca around the 16th century...


And here's a Dondang Sayang treat...

Comments

Liudmila said…
Why we love all sorts of cerimonies? Maybe it's a one more way to feel alive?
footiam said…
Maybe, it makes life more interesting.

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