Wednesday 23 February 2005

Yuanxiao Festival, also known as Lantern Festival

Falling on the 15th day of the first month of the Lunar Year, Yuanxiao (in Mandarin, Yuan literarily means "First" while Xiao refers to "night") Festival, more popular known as Chap Goh Mei (in Hokkien) in Malaysia. It is part of and the last day of the Chinese New Year and marks the end of the New Year celebrations.

It is traditionally a time for family reunion. The most prominent activity of the Yuanxiao Festival is the display of all types of beautiful lanterns. So the occasion is also called the Lantern Festival.

Yuanxiao Festival is also popularly referred to as Chinese Valentine’s Day. In the past, it was the only day of the year that a single woman could go out (chaperoned) and be seen by eligible bachelors. Now, many single people gather at the festival, and some play matchmaking games with the lanterns. Young ladies would converge to throw mandarin oranges into the sea wishing to get a good life partner.

Everything will be back to normal tomorrow especially those Chinese owned businesses where all staff will be back at work on full force. Sighhh this means the traffic in KL is going to be all time high again!!!

Wishing everyone a good year ahead and happy celebrating Chap Goh Mei!

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