KUCHING: Once upon a time, throwing mandarin oranges into the river was one of the most significant customs during Chap Goh Mei which marks the end of the Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration.
However, due to the stringent SOPs imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, such social gatherings were put on hold the past two years.
According to Chinese belief, the throwing of mandarin oranges is akin to the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day.
Hence, on that day, many people especially love struck young adults would scribble their mandarin oranges with little love notes or mobile numbers and some even with their social media Instagram handle. Such is the euphoria.
These days, most can only wish for a shooting star on Chap Goh Mei which falls on February 15 this year, that the man or woman of their dreams will magically appear to woo them or propose to them.
Wesn Moi Moi, 34, from Bau, who will be celebrating Chap Goh Mei with her family is resigned to reminiscing about people throwing mandarin oranges back in her village.
“Oh there are so many temples in Bau and the biggest temple is the Bong Tua Pek Kong (located at the roundabout entrance to Bau) and as a Buddhist, maybe I will just go there to pray and after that have a family dinner,” she said.
“There used to be a lot of people throwing mandarin oranges but for the past two years, nobody does that because of Covid,” she said.
Moi, who owns a noodle stall at Tabuan Jaya, said this year’s CNY has been enjoyable for her and her family although it was just between them. And Chap Goh Mei is likely to be no different.
Shop owner, Vivien, 43, also said this year’s Chap Goh Mei festivities will just focus on food.
“We will just eat. Even during CNY, my family did not have an open house, just the children’s friends who came for visits.
“As an adult, I don’t think we have the energy to entertain so much anymore but just cook for our relatives who did the same for us.
“Chap Goh Mei will be the same. Nothing grand like mandarin orange throwing. I heard that they did that before at the Kuching Waterfront but I don’t know if they can do the same this year,” she said.
Vivien added that celebrants would mostly wish for a rich and good husband or for good fortunes by throwing the mandarin oranges into the river for luck.
“Personally, I have never joined them. I just hear people talk about it,” she said, laughing.
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