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Chap Goh Mei 2024

The meaning of ‘Chap Goh Mei’ is ‘the 15th day of the new year’ that marks the 15th and last day of the Chinese New Year celebrations. The festival holds great historical significance and is also considered the Chinese Valentine’s Day. 

This is one of the significant festivals in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, etc. In Malaysia, this festival holds more significance in the Penang region, where there is a larger population of Hokkien Chinese residing.

Origin and History of Chap Goh Mei

In olden times, Chinese women were allowed to go out only on the last day of the New year celebrations, which is also the Chap Goh Meh festival. On this day, the young maidens venture out to find love, and the young men flock there to see them.

They believed that when young girls throw oranges into the sea, it will bring them good luck in the form of good husbands. The prospective grooms who reach there to witness the event will try to catch the oranges and get a glimpse of their prospective brides.

As for the Lantern Festival, the lanterns are lit in honor of the deceased and also for peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness. People write riddles on their lantern before setting it free. Those who catch them can try to solve the riddles and approach the owners to check if they were right and get any prizes as well.

Even though Chap Goh Mei is known as the Lantern festival because lanterns are a significant factor in this festival, it should not be misunderstood for the Mid-Autumn Festival, which usually happens during the month of September. The major event of this festival is lighting up thousands of lanterns.

Interestingly, this festival is also celebrated on the 15th day but of the Chinese year’s eighth month! Both the Chap Goh Mei and the Mid-Autumn festivals are on a full moon day.

When is Chap Goh Mei 2024?

The Chap Goh Mei 2024 date happens to be February 24. This festival is a big event which is also a public holiday in Malaysia. The festivities start in the morning itself with the orange throwing happening at different times; the evening events are usually from 8-8.30 pm and latsts till 10. 30 pm.

How is Chap Goh Mei celebrated?

As mentioned, the festival marks the end of New Year celebrations and starts with a healthy meal at home with red lanterns adorning the doors. Chap Goh Mei festival is a major celebration in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, specifically the capital city, George Town. 

  • The major event is the matchmaking mandarin throwing and catching event, followed by other events such as cultural performances, lion dances, and fireworks. 
  • On this day, the unmarried girls all catch hold of a mandarine orange where they write their names and throw them into the sea (throwing the mandarine) while the young men would try and catch them (catching the mandarine). 
  • It is also significant that you face the south-east direction while throwing the oranges as it is where the Happiness Star is.

Although the matchmaking tradition does not hold much significance in this technological era, people are still maintaining the traditions. Chinese people still hold on to these traditions and hold the celebrations just the same way. These days people write down their names or phone numbers. Later either the shopkeepers will pick them up and sell them in their shops, or young men catch hold of them.

Highlights of Chap Goh Mei 2024

Activities and Competition 

Although orange throwing is nothing but a tradition of the olden times, people still try to stick to them in any way possible. As per the Chap Goh Mei tradition, there are a few ways that simply turn the tradition into a fun activity in Penang

Here, the boys will be rounding up in various boats, and they need to gather as many oranges as possible while the girls throw them in the sea. The boat that manages to gather the most number will be declared the winner and get prizes as well. 


Lantern Riddles 

The festival also includes the custom of lantern riddles, a tradition dating back to the Song Dynasty. Riddles are written on notes attached to colorful lanterns, and participants gather around to guess the answers, receiving small gifts for correct guesses.

Chap Goh Mei’s origins are steeped in folklore, with one popular story involving the Jade Emperor’s wrath being quelled by villagers hanging red lanterns and setting off firecrackers, tricking him into believing their village was already on fire.


Eating Tang Yuan

Indulging in tang yuan becomes a cherished ritual that embodies the essence of this festive season. These sweet, glutinous rice balls, often filled with black sesame or peanut paste and served in a warm, fragrant broth, symbolize unity, togetherness, and the full circle of life and family. Eating tang yuan during the Lantern Festival, which marks the final day of Chinese New Year celebrations, is not just a culinary delight but a profound expression of hope and harmony for the year ahead.

Visiting temples

There would also be lion dances while the Chinese throng the temples to visit and get blessings from the deities. They also believe that drinking the holy water from the temples would bring them good luck.

In Penang, the famous temple to visit is the Kek Lok Si temple, lit with numerous red lanterns.

In Kuala Lumpur, people visit the Thean Hou Temple, where people worship three deities, namely,  

  • Thean Hou, the sea Goddess 
  • Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy 
  • Swei Mei, the Goddess of Waterfront

Guidelines and restrictions 

So far, there are no proper guidelines or restrictions regarding this festival issued by the government. But if you intend to visit Penang during this time, then check for such guidelines to the days closer to the event.

It is widely recommended to avoid crowded areas during this time and to keep the celebration online by sharing pictures of you holding the oranges and posting them on social media to enjoy a more eco-friendly celebration.

How to Reach Chap Goh Mei Venue?

Malaysia has a few famous Chap Goh Mei venues where you can see the orange throwing event.  

Reaching these venues is easier with plenty of bus routes operating from various parts of the country. The most famous routes among them are, 

  1. Kuala Lumpur to Penang 
  2. Johor Bahru to Penang 
  3. Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh 
  4. Johor Bahru to Klang 

redBus enables convenient bus tickets booking to help confirm your presence at these events in advance. One can easily book the tickets from their online portal or through the redBus app. All these places are so well connected by a road that it is easier to reach the destinations within a few hours from major cities.

You can book bus tickets online for Chinese New Year 2024 celebrations with promo code ONGSOME68 and save up to 68% on bus booking. 

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