Casting oranges for love on a subdued note

GEORGE TOWN: The movement control order (MCO) has forced single women, who used to throw mandarin oranges into the sea on Chap Goh Meh in the hope of finding true love, to look for alternatives this year.

With the ongoing MCO amid the Covid-19 pandemic, there will be no public celebration of Chap Goh Meh in Penang on Friday night (Feb 26).

Still, several businesses have come up with ways of keeping the tradition alive.

One of them is entertainment tower The Top Penang, which is organising a mandarin orange-throwing event for its patrons under strict standard operating procedures (SOP).

For those planning to spend the evening at home and reminiscing, the State Chinese Penang Association is uploading videos on its Facebook page and YouTube channel to give users a glimpse of how Chap Goh Meh was celebrated in the past.

The Penang Chinese Town Hall has also cancelled its Chap Goh Meh celebration, which traditionally featured lion and dragon dances, orange-throwing and stage performances, for the first time in more than 30 years.

Meanwhile, state Tourism and Creative Economy Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said although Chinese New Year celebrations have been significantly toned down this year, the festivities may still be observed in a safe way and in adherence with SOPs.

The state-level Chap Goh Meh celebration has also been called off this year, he added.

In previous years, it was held at the Esplanade here, with hawker stalls and cultural exhibition booths set up to add to the carnival atmosphere.

The annual Chap Goh Meh celebration would typically start in the evening with babas, nyonyas and a dondang sayang troupe ferried around town on a bus.

Two floats from the State Chinese Penang Association in Perak Road would join in, before a performance and the traditional casting of oranges at the Esplanade.

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