Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The 15th day

I woke up to a bright full moon hanging low in the horizon and the smell of incense in the hall. It's the 15th day of the Chinese New Year which marks the end of the festivities.

When I was a child, that meant we had no more red packets to collect. The family would usually gather for a sumptuous dinner and glutinous rice balls cooked in a sweet soup to round off the celebrations.

It's a more realistic world for the kids today. Even before the Chinese New Year festivities were over, their first term school examinations have already started. Not many people observe the significance of the 15th day (元宵节) these days.

In traditional Chinese culture, it is also celebrated as the Lantern Festival and Chinese Valentine's Day. In ancient times, this was the only day that a single woman was allowed to dress up and go out in the hope of meeting her future husband. Sparks will fly at such gatherings and her suitor would later make a proposition to her family for her hand in marriage. During these outings, the girls would also toss oranges into the sea and make a prayer that they would find a suitable husband.

Well, as romantic as it sounds, I don't think anyone is going to toss oranges into our sea today and risk getting a $1,000 fine for littering!

10 comments:

mooiness said...

These Nyonya traditions are fantastic. :)

Blur Ting said...

Mooiness - I read that the women in Penang still throw oranges into the sea. Do you think so?

Amel's Realm said...

INTERESTING. I didn't know about Chinese Valentine's day. :-))))

The World According to Me said...

Good point with the fine! Who says romance is dead?!

WaterLearner said...

Hey! I also just wrote about this Chinese Valentines Day!!

SOUL: said...

i always learn something new from you asian peoples!!! :)) yes, it's a good thing.
i love reading here---

and why not? throw oranges into the sea-- love is a risk afterall.. right-- take a risk like that early on-- something good will surely come of it-- no?

happy thursday!

Michelle said...

I love traditions. The one I grew up with was that you (single girls) never ate wedding cake. You took it home and spelt with it under your pillow,prefarably in a plastic bag or you're going to have squished cake everywhere!

Then you were supposed to dream of your husband.

Since I only ever went to three weddings, and kinda like eating fruit cake,I only tried it once. No luck. Just sad squashed cake next morning.

seagrape said...

oranges in the sea -- what a sight that would be!

The Real Mother Hen said...

I think the man throws apples, the woman throws mandarin oranges :)

Btw, last night the lunar eclipse was quite awesome :)

Blur Ting said...

Oh, really? I'll throw my casting net to catch all the apples and oranges :-)

I wasn't aware of the eclipse last night. Shucks, I missed it!

Oh, then again, your night will be our daytime....so I wouldn't be able to see it anyway.