15-day celebration culminates with orange-throwing ritual and fireworks

Pretty in red: (From left) Ng Siew Ee, 36, marvelling at the lovely lanterns with her daughter Emily, two, and husband Teoh Wei Lip, 37, during the Chap Goh Meh celebration at the Esplanade in Penang.

A COLOURFUL fireworks display illuminated the sky-line of the Esplanade in Penang to mark the end of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebration.

Thousands of people thronged the grand state-level Chap Goh Meh do which started at 7pm on Thursday.

It was also a night when maidens gracefully threw mandarin oranges into the sea with the hope of finding their Mr Right.

For three best friends Koay Sue Yong, 17, Chew Chui Ying, 18, and Elize Lye Tian Xie, 17, it was the first time they participated in this activity.

“We believe in the tradition. We hope we will find our Mr Right soon,” Chew quipped.

She added that they also prayed for their family’s well-being as well as good health.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who launched the celebration, thanked the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring the 10-minute fireworks display which was the highlight of the night.

Among the exciting programmes were a lion dance, chingay parade and an appearance by the cast of ‘Ah Boys to Men 3: Frogmen’ as well as various stalls offering local delights.

Mandarin oranges were sold at RM1 to the public to throw into the sea.

The money will go to charity.

Also present were state executive councillors Danny Law Heng Kiang, Dr Afif Bahardin and Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim.

At the Straits Quay, more than 1,000 revellers gathered for its Chap Goh Meh celebration.

About 600 mandarin oranges were given out to young ladies.

This celebration has been widely regarded as the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day.

According to tradition, it is a day where single women take the opportunity to throw personally marked mandarin oranges into the sea or river with the hope of finding suitors.

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