Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Legend Behind Chap Goh Meh or The Chinese Valentine's Day

Yesterday was the last day of the Chinese New Year or what we call Chap Goh Meh which is Hokkien for the 15th day of the lunar new year. The festival is also called Lantern Festival in China.

Girls Throwing Kam Into The Sea At The Esplanade, Penang
The Star 7 February 2012


It was celebrated in a big way especially in Penang, where maidens threw kam or mandarin oranges into the sea in the hope of finding a soul-mate.

Chap Goh Meh or Lantern Festival in China is also known as the Chinese Valentine's day here and there are many legends behind it.

One of the more interesting legends has it that one day a beautiful crane flew down from the heavens to earth but was caught and slaughtered by some villagers.

That crane was the Jade Emperor's favourite and he was very angry about it. He vowed vengeance on the villagers on the 15th lunar day. But his daughter Zhi Nu took pity on the villagers and duly warned them of the impending woe.

The villagers were very upset and worried and did not know what to do avoid the calamity until a wise man came up with a plan.

Click here to find out what the wise man said and what happened.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks. But I wonder when is Valentine Day in China and Hong Kong. I read that it is on the Seven day on the Seven Month and put this in my novel when two young people talk about Valentine Day in Hong Kong. Do you have two Valentine Days?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Chinese Malaysians consider Chap Goh Meh as the Chinese Valentine's Day. We are aware that in China, the seventh day of the seventh lunar month is considered the Chinese Valentine's Day. But we do not celebrate it in a big way. There is this legend of the cowherd who fell in love with the weaver girl from heaven. They married and had two children. One day the Goddess of Heaven came to know of it and became angry because a goddess was not supposed to marry a mere mortal. To cut a long story short, the weaver girl was forced/tricked back to heaven and to keep the lovers separate, the Goddess of Heaven caused a wide river between heaven and earth which made it impossible for the love-lorns to meet. But once in a year on the seven day of the seven lunar month, magpies took pity on them and formed a bridge between heaven and earth to enable the lovers to meet. Hence the association with Valentine's Day. Actually, quite romantic really.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks. Yes, a romantic legend. I'll keep the seven day/month in the novel.

    ReplyDelete

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