Approaching the 15th day of Chinese New Year, Chap Goh Mei (also known as the YuanXiao ) is commonly celebrated and is very popular among younger generation. The Chap Goh Mei this year falls on the 6th of February. I have never attended any Chap Goh Mei Events before this. I was rather excited and happy to participate in such a joyful event. Upon arriving at Taman Jaya, the place was filled with lights, lanterns, laughter, people, and lots of food. From a distance I could see that the place was nicely decorated with many light and lanterns.
The celebration was organized by the Majlis Perbandaran Petaling Jaya and everyone gathered with friends and family to simply just enjoy themselves and wrap up the entire Chinese New Year with a perfect finishing. There were stalls and booths with food and pretty stuffs and people were just enjoying the time while helping themselves out with tasty snack and lots of laughter.
The most wanted stall on the day is none other than the paper lantern and snack stalls. These paper lanterns I was referring to, is also known as the KongMing Lantern. Authentically, it would have been made out of bamboo frame and rice paper. With a small candle positioned at the bottom of the lantern, flaming heat inside the lantern lowers the density of lantern allowing it to rise up into the air. According to Wikipedia, the The Kongming Lantern (Chinese: 孔明燈) was the first hot air balloon, said to be invented by the Chinese sage and military strategist Zhuge Liang, whose reverent term of address (i.e. Chinese style name) was Kongming. They were first deployed at the turn of the 3rd century as a type of signaling balloon or, as it’s said, as a type of spy blimp in warfare. Alternatively the name may come from the lantern’s resemblance to the hat Kongming is traditionally shown to be wearing.
Today, commercialized lanterns were made with thin wires and molten candle wax to replace the bamboo frames and candle.
When I walk around the place, I see people buying the lanterns at Rm 2.50 each and they started writing wishes and prayers on the paper lantern. Friends went in groups and gather to discuss their wishes and together they put their faith that the lantern would carry their wishes to the heaven.
At a point near an open space, lanterns were all over me. People were busy lighting their own lanterns and I took the opportunity to participate as well. Well the first wasn’t a success. It was brunt before the flame manages to heat up the air in the lantern. After the first encounter, I am now the expert in this.LOL! Now the trick is to hold the lantern steadily with certain duration of time to allow the flame to heat the air.
And the sky above my head was beautifully decorated with big floating stars. It was a peaceful night and the sight was indeed magical and heavenly.
So apart from lighting the paper lantern, Chap Goh Mei is celebrated by individuals seeking for a lover. In Malaysia, it is also commonly known as the Chinese Valentines Day. Single women would write their contact number on mandarin oranges and throw it into a river or lake while single men would collect them. Apparently sweetness of the mandarin orange represents good fate while the sour ones would bring a bad fate.
Just that nowadays, I think both guys and girls kind of do the same just for the fun of it. The organizers even gave out free mandarin oranges and free The Tarik. Also, I saw few putting in their facebook account as well. The marker has better be a permanent one if these people are really serious about searching their love with this method.
Apart from the experience, the other thing that I enjoyed was the food. There were many vendors that came prepared and it was great to have these lovely snacks available at a lake side at such late hour. I in particularly adore this fried yam with char siew filling on one side and sausage on the other side. Not to mention how cute the couple selling this fried yam was being so friendly and jolly at all time.
There were two selections, both with char siew filling at one end, and choice of sausage or the Taiwanese sausage at the other end. Hmmm….I think I like them both.
There were many steamboats as well as the grilled and barbeque ones. I didn’t get any of those because there were too many people. There was even some on the spot steamed pau, which I thought was interesting, and my favourite pearl drink, this time in soya bean.
Lastly I had the Mochi covered with grinded fine peanuts and sugar.
I left at about 12 midnight and people were still arriving at that time. I have no idea what time did it end, but I had a great time and I thought it was a perfect closure the Chinese New Year 2012 celebration.
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