Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chap Goh Mei

Chap Goh Mei is generally the last day of the Chinese New Year Festival, and the fifteenth day of the first month in the Lunar Calendar. It is also known as Yuan Xiao in the Hokkien dialect. Some people also refer to the festival as the Lantern Festival. In various region and countries, this festival is also regarded as the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day.

Chap Goh Mei is celebrated by eating grand meals with families and relatives. Prayers are conducted and offerings are made in conjunction with the festival. If you go to temples, you can see many devotees performing prayers, asking the God of Prosperity to bless them with success and wealth in the coming year. Most families give offerings to the deities in the form of candles and joss sticks, which flicker in the wind. Houses are decorated with red lanterns.

According to Chinese tradition, at the start of a new year, when there is a bright full moon shining at night, there should be thousands of colourful lanterns hung out for people to appreciate. Children will go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns, and solving riddles posted on them. The Chinese will also enjoy a nice family reunion and eat Yuanxiao (glutinous rice ball), a dish associated with Chap Goh Mei. There would also be many festive activities such as lion dance and other unique cultural performances.

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