A night for the singles

Chap Goh Meh, which is Hokkien for “15th night” marks the end of celebrating the lunar new year.


Tonight, at many popular tourist seafronts, you'll see a quaint tradition. 

The elders will tell you in Hokkien that single ladies “tio beh ai tim ho kam, jia eh thaan ho ang.” Basically, this translates to “must throw good quality Mandarin orange to marry a good husband". 

*Please take note: The oranges thrown into the sea must be Mandarin Oranges, imported from China (Sunkist from California do not count). 

In Malaysia, this day of full moon is increasingly regarded as the Chinese version of Valentine's Day. 

Many single ladies inscribe oranges with their names, phone numbers and throw them into lakes or ponds. Single men hoping to meet a romantic interest will paddle up in their boats with nets to fish out the oranges.

This decades old romantic practice of throwing oranges on Chap Goh Meh did not originate in China but is a peculiar Penang tradition. 


In modern times, the throwing of oranges into the sea in fervent hopes of 'landing' a husband has evolved into a fun activity, rather than a superstitious belief that the man who picks up the girl’s floating Mandarin orange would be her future spouse.

Many single ladies write good wishes on their oranges, while others are just looking to have fun. 

Granted, there are some who are looking for true love, whether or not they believe in the likelihood of it happening through a chance introduction of a mandarin orange!

Let us acknowledge that courage is an attribute of good character that makes one worthy of respect. It takes considerable bravery for ladies to profess their desire to be wooed and cherished. 

That indelible ink inscribed on the surface of the mandarin oranges, which may spark romance, is made possible by oleochemicals. 

So, it's true. Never under-estimate the might of the pen, especially when it is filled with oleochemical-derived palm oil.

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