Chinese New Year doesn’t seem lively enough if there is no Cap Go Meh.
Most people only know Cap Go Meh is a celebration held by Chinese people two weeks after Chinese New Year. Cap Go Meh is not just that, because Cap Go Meh also has meaning. If you want to know the history and meaning of Cap Go Meh, see continue with Pegipegi, let’s go!
CAP GO MEH IS DIFFERENT WITH IMLEC
Chinese New Year is often celebrated by praying to temples to offer prayers of salvation and blessing in the new year. After that, I just got together and ate with my family. Whereas, when Cap Go Meh, people bring offerings in the form of basket cakes and do the basket cake prayers to give thanks and beg for salvation.
People in ancient times believed that if children don’t eat basket cakes, their eyes will be thick. So, until now there are still not a few people who bring basket offerings when Cap Go Meh. After that, of course, there is a snack cake that can be eaten directly or fried. Even basket cakes can be distributed free of charge to the surrounding population.
CAP GO MEH IN EARLY AGE
Cap Go Meh is the last series of Chinese New Year Celebrations. The term Cap Go Meh comes from Hokkien accent which if interpreted means 15 days or nights after Chinese New Year. When decapitated per word, the word ‘cap’ has a meaning of 10, while ’go’ means 5, and ’meh’ in other words night. In China, Cap Go Meh is called the Yuanxiao Festival or Shangyuan Festival. The celebration of Cap Go Meh was carried out to pay homage to the God of Thai Yi, the highest deity in the ancient Han Dynasty (206 BC-221 AD).
Previously, Cap Go Meh was carried out in a closed manner in the court circles and was not yet known to the general public. The festival is held at night, to the point that it must provide not a few lanterns and a variety of colorful lights. Lamps are a sign of welfare for all family members. So, Cap Go Meh is often called the Lantern Festival. When the Han Dynasty ended, Cap Go Meh became known to the public. When Cap Go Meh, people can see spree while feeling the sight of lanterns that have been given not a little decoration.
When Cap Go Meh, the people will watch Barongsai dan Liong (dragon) dances, gather to play games full of puzzles, and eat onde-onde. Throughout the celebration, of course, it will be enlivened by the presence of fireworks and firecrackers. Uniquely the Barongsai word is not from China but is based on the word ‘barong’ which is Javanese and the word ‘say’ which is, in other words, the lion in Hokkien accent. The Lion Dance is a symbol of happiness, joy, and well-being. While Lion is perceived as a symbol of dominance or strength, according to Chinese people’s beliefs, the family will be the biggest if their child appears in the Year of the Dragon.
Onde-onde has eaten when Cap Go Meh is often made crowded by all family members, especially women and children. Then, why should the Lion Dance and Liong dance while sounding firecrackers? The thing is, firecrackers are believed to be able to repel negative energy and will wash all the places passed by the Lion Dance.
In general, that is what Chinese people do when celebrating Cap Go Meh. In many regions, Cap Go Meh is carried out with unique traditions. For example, when Cap Go Meh, you can find a mate on Kemaro Island, Palembang. While in Singkawang, you can celebrate Cap Go Meh by watching the Tatung parade to get rid of evil spirits.