As a Chinese, I must admit that I really don’t know all of the traditions behind Chinese New Year, from why people must give Ang Pau, to the meaning behind Nian and many more, I have taken some time to read through some useful articles to get to know more of my tradition. This year, I feel much appreciated when I receiving Ang Pau and feeling more blissful to have families by my side. So, what is Chap Goh Meh all about? If you are Hokkien (like me), probably you need to read this too!
Chap Goh Meh is actually derived from the southern Hokkien dialect, ‘chap goh’ which means ‘fifteen’ and ‘meh is translates into ‘night’. In China, the celebration also known as Yuan Xiao Jie, which is the night of the first month of the Lunar calendar. According to the ancient legend, women had restricted freedom to roam the streets, thus on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, women took this opportunity to head out to the streets and temples in the hopes of meeting new people and make new friends.
What is the food that you must eat during Chap Goh Meh? Definitely Tang Yuan (Glutinous rice balls)! It is a symbolic dessert for the Chinese, especially Hokkien, as it represents reunion, family and good ties.
On top of that, as you can see from the social media, the most famous activity associated with the festival is, of course, the throwing of mandarin oranges, usually into a water. It is a way for young women of proclaiming love to someone they admire or ask for blessings to find themselves a good partner. As such, it is similar to the practice of ‘love locks’ in Europe country!
Even you are not Hokkien, Chap Goh Meh should not be mistaken for a religious activity, and that it was a cultural tradition that varied from family to family.
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Read also: Chinese New Year Desserts That You Shouldn’t Miss!