The fifteenth day of the Chinese new year is celebrated as yuán xiāo jié (元宵节), otherwise known as Chap Goh Mei in Hokkien. Rice dumplings, tang yuan 汤圆, sweet glutinous rice balls brewed in a soup, ares eaten this day. (source: wikipedia)
Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns. This day marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities. (source: wikipedia)
In SE Asia, it coincides with the Chinese Valentine's Day. Young unmarried women toss tangerines into the sea hoping that their future spouses will pick it up – a custom that originated in Penang, Malaysia. In the past, this was also the only day that unmarried ladies could be seen with their partners. (Source: Wikipedia)
The crowds waited with anticipation early in the evening. The Southern Cantonese lions, the shaggy orange Northern lions and even a long dragon came out to play and dance to their own drum beat. How many lion dance troupes are there in Sarikei?
The folks from the clans and temples turn out in force with displays of kung fu, music, lanterns, deities, costumes, chanting, etc. The most spectacular had to be the devotees who sat on sedan chairs made of sharp objects while in a trance and oblivious to the pain. This sort of parade was common in the 1960s -1970s.
The local Chinese papers normally has a Sarikei-Bintangor page. You can expect the English and Chinese local papers to cover this parade.
Sarikei's festivals are getting bigger and better. This is another tourist attraction in the making if this can be celebrated in festive style annually.
Happy Chap Goh Meh!