Today is Lantern Festival (also known as yuan xiao jie), which is observed on the 15th night of the Lunar New Year to signify the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations.
It is also popularly referred to as the Chinese Valentine’s Day as women were forbidden to go out back in the ancient days except on this night, where they strolled freely, visited temples, played games and interacted with men.
In this region, Lantern Festival is more affectionately known as Chap Goh Meh which literally means the 15th night of the Lunar New Year in the Hokkien dialect. On this night, single women can throw a tangerine inscribed with their contact details into the river or sea in the belief that it will be picked up by a suitable partner. Some ladies have even been spotted leaving their Facebook IDs on the oranges because hey, it’s the modern way of communication now!
This wildly romantic tradition is exceptionally popular in Penang where it is still being practiced annually at the Esplanade seafront in George Town, along with performances and other activities on the night’s agenda.
While we are always supportive of keeping traditions alive, we can’t bring ourselves to justify littering the environment in the name of tradition and love.
So, we pick 4 ways that we believe are more meaningful ways to seek out love.
Attend house parties
While there are still many people who trawl bars and clubs to seek out potential partners, most are gravitating towards house parties where the social group is smaller and is more likely to be made of friends of friends instead of complete strangers. Plus, a smaller and more casual setting allows attendees to have more comfortable conversations with one another over food and drinks.
House party invitations are usually spread through word of mouth; so if you know that your friend is attending one, ask if you can tag along. Better, you can even host one in your home and get a few of your closest unmarried friends to come with one or two of their single acquaintances.
When it comes to hosting a house party, you can most certainly do it within a reasonable budget. Order food or cook — if you’re known to whip up some delicious food in the kitchen.
Alcoholic drinks are preferred to give some liquid courage and cordiality when you have guests who aren’t so familiar with each other, but that doesn’t mean you will have to fork out thousands on bottles of booze all on your own. Instead, go for a ‘BYOB’ or Bring Your Own Booze party.
If you’re doing the grocery shopping for your house party, our list of best cashback credit cards will help ease your spending. Also, read our blog on clever supermarket hacks that’ll help you save money!
Check out open-mic nights
It’s important to find a lover who shares your likes and interests to a certain degree — so if you’re one who can sing beautifully or writes poems during your free time, why not drop by one of the open-mic night events in Klang Valley?
Not only can you enjoy music and poetry — both from other local bathroom singers, songwriters, or professional musicians and poets, you’ll also get to share your hidden talent and perhaps find yourself a potential partner who enjoys music and poetry as much as you do.
Currently, Open Mic Malaysia is one of the more established organisers, with over six years of experience hosting such events. Locations in Kuala Lumpur include The KL Journal, Ril’s Bangsar and PLOY at Clearwater. Other options you can check out are If Walls Could Talk (exclusively for poetry), Merdekarya and Moonshine Productions.
Join a book club
Continuing on the importance of finding someone who shares similar likes and interests, you may also want to consider participating in a book club if you’re a book enthusiast.
At the moment, there are two active book clubs in Kuala Lumpur that host monthly meet-ups. Established in 2011, Paperback Book Club is the longest-running book club in town and usually organises discussions in cafes so bibliophiles can talk fiction or nonfiction over cups of coffee. They have recently branched out to poetry readings as well.
KL Book Appreciation Club (KLBAC), which started out as a book exchange forum, now holds book discussions on the last weekend of every month. There’s also bi-monthly meets where you can take part in discussions, readings, book sales, exchanges and even blind dates with books.
You may have heard this before but it’s true, some people do find love through volunteering work. If you have some spare time, why not reach out to the local animal shelters, orphanages or nursing homes and offer a helping hand?
By helping, we don’t just mean showing up with bags of grocery and essentials – you should also be ready to roll up your sleeves and help around the facility. It can range from feeding and cleaning at the animal shelter to teaching kids how to read, draw and write or just spending time with the retirees and listening to the stories they have to share.
Who knows? You might just meet your Mr (or Ms) Perfect by doing good, and it’s certainly a big plus point that he or she has a big heart just like you!