Chap Goh Mei

Chap Goh Mei meets Valentine’s Day














Ah, February 14. It’s a double celebration for Valentine’s Day this year because Chap Goh Mei (which translates to “fifteenth night” in Hokkien) also falls today.

Chap Goh Mei falls on the 15th day of the first month in the lunar calendar, and it also marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Chap Goh Mei is also known as the Chinese Valentine’s Day, when decades ago, it was not a common practice for women to go out at night, except for Chap Goh Mei. Young bachelorettes would dress to the nines for this chaperoned occasion, and young men would roam the streets as well, hoping to catch a sight of the ladies.

The most popular ancient practice involved the ladies throwing oranges into rivers, and it was widely believed that the man who picks up their orange will be their future husband. Not many would consider throwing oranges into the river, and the reasons vary from the unlikely chance that the fate of one’s future depended on an orange, and to not being to find a river nearby. Those who do, however, would inscribe their names and phone numbers onto the oranges. I’ve personally never thrown oranges, but I find the whole thing adorable. I do hope that the oranges won’t clog up waterways.

These photos were taken at The Gardens with Cheryl, and they never fail to amaze with their Chinese New Year decorations (here’s another post from 2012). This time around, they’ve gone with the vintage approach, and the decor evokes imaginations of how my grandmother would have grown up celebrating Chinese New Year.

Tags: