Ethnic Chinese in Malaysia Celebrate Valentine's Day

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And ethnic Chinese in Malaysia have a unique custom to mark the end of the Lunar New Year. They tossed tangerines into a pond for guys to grab. But the real reward isn't the fruit, but what's found on its skin.

On Thursday, thousands of ethnic Chinese in Malaysia flocked to a recreation park in Kuala Lumpur to observe a decades old custom - tangerine tossing.

The 'fifteenth night' marks an end to the Lunar New Year celebration, and is widely celebrated as the Chinese Valentine's Day.

Unmarried women toss tangerines into the sea, hoping that the fruits will be picked up by young men who could become their future husband.

[Amelia Yap Chooi Hua, Organizer]:
"Women in the ancient times could only be friends with men when they come out from their confined rooms once a year. They joined activities like lantern riddles, released sky lanterns or tossed tangerines - these were the only way to befriend a man. Now, singles do not need this, and this culture will soon be forgotten by Chinese. Hopefully this event can remind the younger generation that we used to have this custom."

Nowadays, women use the event to expand their network of friends.

Women write names, telephone numbers and emails on the skin of the fruits before hurling them into the water.

Men on the other side of the pool have to scramble to pick the fruits and make phone calls from the details on the tangerines.

[Cheam Heng Soon, Participant]:
"We can come out and have a tea, chat about... If it's right - then we have good chemistry - then we can go on a bit. If not I have a new friend, nothing to lose anyway."

[Jessica Yong Juang Yunn, Participant]:
"I received more than 10 calls last year, and all of them became my friends."

Participants also release boat lanterns into the water, wishing their families, friends and partner an auspicious and smooth year ahead.

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