Yuan Xiao Festival or The Lantern Festival or Chap Goh Meh (Hokkien), also called Shang Yuan Festival, is a Chinese traditional festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the Chinese lunar calendar (also means the first full moon of the lunar year). It marks the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. For century, Chinese in Penang have organised various activities to celebrate Yuan Xiao Festival, such as lantern appreciation, lantern riddle guessing, lion dance, dragon dance, tossing mandarin, parade, cultural performances and so on.
In Penang, many Chinese are deeply influenced by Hokkien Peranakan/Baba Nyonya’s culture of celebrating Chap Poh Meh (Yuan Xiao Festival), cooking Pengat or Pungat dessert and enjoy it after offering to household God and ancestors.
Tossing or throwing mandarin is also one of the Hokkien Peranakan’s activities of celebrating the Chap Goh Meh. In the past, besides tossing mandarin, there were also tossing apples, longan, red dates, and pebbles at the seaside of Esplanade or the Sungai Pinang and muttered a simple Hokkien colloquial couplet to make a wish as below:
"Tim leng-geng, Ho boay keng" (投龙眼 好尾景 Dragon’s eyes I throw, A good life will follow)
"Tim ho kam, T’an ho ang" (投好柑 得好婿 Good oranges I throw, Good spouse will follow)
"Tim p’ing ko, T’an ho bo" (投苹果 得好妻 Apples here I throw, A good wife will follow)
"Tim chioh thau, Khi ang-moh lau" (投石头 起洋楼 These stones I throw, Bungalows galore!)
"Tim ang cho, Ban soo ho" (投红枣 万事好 These dates we cast away, All good things come our way)