The 15th day of each Chinese New Year marks the day of the Prime Night Festival, or we address it as Chap Goh Meh in Hokkien. According to Chinese folklore, this festival serves as a Chinese Valentine’s Day as single women gather around the river or sea and throw tangerines with the hope of marrying a good husband in ancient times.
With the rise of technology and human intellectual growth, this custom has gradually died down, especially in the city areas. However, in Malaysia, people still keep the tradition going as a way to lighten up the festive vibes. There are Lantern Festival events happening every year that attract crowds from all over the place to celebrate this last day of Chinese New Year.
While witnessing the lively atmosphere of the Chap Goh Meh festival is impossible this year (all because of the pandemic), it’s still always good to look back on the celebrations that took place in the past years. Here, we are going to highlight five major locations in Malaysia that usually host grand Chap Goh Meh events for the public to toss Mandarin oranges.
Padang Kota Lama (Esplanade), Penang
(Image source: @swisherr)
Known as Esplanade in English, Padang Kota Lama is the seafront field (adjacent to Fort Cornwallis) in Georgetown, near the port jetty. This big field becomes the iconic location for various big events, that includes Chap Goh Meh as well. It usually attracts many locals and tourists with the fireworks, food stalls, stage performances, other street shows, and also the orange throwing activities. Although it causes traffic congestion whenever there’s an event taking place, people still flock to it and join in the fun all the time.
Address: Esplanade Road, Jalan Padang Kota Lama, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang.
Taman Jaya Lake, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
(Image source: @joycesharyn)
When speaking of the most happening Lantern Festival in Petaling Jaya, one would always give high recommendations for Taman Jaya Lake. The lake is situated in the park itself. Every year, there will be performances and orange tossing activities at the lakeside. Typically, girls of various ethnicities participate in the game and throw the oranges into the lake while guys standby to fish out the oranges from the other side. Apart from that, lantern riddles were carried out during this festival to enhance the Chinese celebration atmosphere as well. It’s definitely a worthwhile place to visit during this day.
Address: 1, Jalan 10/7, Taman Jaya, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Kwan Yin Tong, Ipoh, Perak
(Image source: Internet)
Ipoh, known to be a place of interest with caves of different shapes, is also another city in Perak with a lot of Chinese population. At the foot of Gunung Rapat, there lies Kwan Yin Tong Temple, a Buddhist temple that’s specially dedicated to the Bodhisattva Guanyin (the Goddess of Mercy). There’s a stream at the side of the temple, which enables the event of Chap Goh Meh too. Each year, the garden in the temple is decorated with LED lights to lighten up the atmosphere and people gathered around the stream for the orange tossing. According to the temple chairman, some were there to have fun, while others were actually following the tradition in hope of getting a soulmate for life.
Address: Lot 21606, Batu 4 1/2, Jalan Gopeng, 31350 Ipoh, Perak, 1, Ipoh, Perak.
Tel: +605-311 2451
Jetty Bastion Middlebourgh, Malacca
((Image source: Internet))
Next to the Tourism Information Center in Melaka, there’s Jetty Bastion Middlebourgh. There’s usually an event for Chap Goh Meh hosted by the Hotel Seri Malaysia Melaka & Malacca Tourism Association at the Water Wheel Area. Not only that the crowds wearing smart casual or red attire to toss orange as tradition, but refreshments and live performances were also presented to entertain the visitors.
Address: Jetty Bastion Middlebourgh, Jalan Quayside, 75400 Melaka.
India Street, Kuching, Sarawak
(Image source: Internet)
Lined with an array of shops and stalls that sell all kinds of goods, India Street in Kuching is an iconic bazaar that focuses more on textiles and fabrics at affordable prices. While being known as the street for Indians, they hosted Chap Goh Meh in past years as well. The event usually takes place along the street with performances such as multi-cultural shows, lion dance, 24 seasons drum, Chinese Orchestra, mural launching and lantern displays, and of course, orange tossing at the pond in India Street Pedestrian Mall (only by the guests of honour).
Address: Jalan India, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak.
Chap Goh Meh isn’t only a festival to find love, but it serves as a good ending of Chinese New Year to celebrate prosperity for the following year. This year might not have as many events as before, it’s still always good to give these locations credits as a way to appreciate the beauty of Lantern festival celebrations so that when crowd gathering is allowed again, we would be able to enjoy them more remarkably than before.