PETALING JAYA: Thousands gathered at designated areas throughout the country for the annual Chap Goh Meh festival.
The Chinese Valentine’s Day, as it is popularly known as, is a Hokkien tradition practised widely in this country.
Traditionally on this night, single women throw oranges into the sea – or any suitable body of water – in the hope of getting a good husband.
Also in current times, available men are flinging bananas around, with their phone number or social media details on the fruit for the opposite sex to find and hopefully, contact them.
And, Chap Goh Meh is no longer limited to Hokkiens.
Many from other races gather with their Chinese friends to join in the fun and festivities, as was the scene at the Taman Jaya lake here last night.
Also there were expatriates Yoshko Ichinokawa, 32, and Kiko Yamamoto, 23, who said there was nothing this exciting back in Japan.
“I’m so happy and at the same time surprised that there’s a festival like this here,” said Yamamoto who is a customer service representative.
“We wrote our phone number and name on an orange each and hopefully whoever finds these will call us,” she said.
Students Ng Pei Ee and Ching Lei, both 18, were there for their first Chap Goh Meh.
“It is a good way for the young to get to know new people and spend time with friends,” said Ching.
Student Lee Guan Hong, 19, had already scooped out four oranges from the lake with a net that he bought for the occasion.
“I’ll be calling tonight, wouldn’t want them to wait,” he laughed.
In Yong Peng, Johor, single women and men tried their luck at finding love – the ladies tossed oranges with names and contact information into an inflatable pool before eligible bachelors fished for the fruit during the celebration.
Store promoter Lilly Pang, 22, said she was initially reluctant to put her name and contact details on an orange but was persuaded to by friends.
“I am the only one still single among them. If the perfect man for me picks that orange ... who knows,” she said.
Restaurant worker Jason Gan, 25, who collected an orange from the pool with a net, said he decided to give tradition a try after several failed relationships.
“I have not had much luck with the ladies so maybe this is the one,” he said, holding up the orange with the name “Angel Khoo” on it.