Macao – A Mixed Ground of Cultures & History
Once a quaint fishing village, Macao (or Macau) has come a long way to make its presence felt in world’s tourism map. Often disguised as the ‘Vegas of China’, this Chinese Special Administrative Region is a confluence point of multiple cultures, a melting ground of colourful traditions, and a kaleidoscopic mix of history!
[Written by Moeedul Hussain]
Though today, Macau is famed as a tinsel city, its rendezvous with the past has been phenomenal! Ruled and inhabited by distinct groups in the past, today it serves as a quintessential ground that showcases multiple ethnicity and cultures. Come, let’s unravel the pages of history today, and rediscover the multi-coloured cultural aspects of Macau!
Macao and Chinese Reigns:
Macao’s tryst with history dates back around 6,000 years; the first traces of human civilisation was discovered during this period. Later, this peninsular region saw the rise and fall of several Chinese dynasties. Qin Dynasty, Jin Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, and Song Dynasty were the dominant ones.
With the growth and development of sea trade in late 5th century, Macao developed itself into a halting ground for the ship merchants. Following this, Macao witnessed several significant changes.
By 1368-1644AD; during the reign of Ming Dynasty, Macao caught the attention of fishermen from neighbouring provinces, and soon became a fishing village. The holy A-Ma Temple served as a major religious centre among the Buddhist fishermen.
The Rise of Macao Under Portuguese:
Though Macao had already been a bustling fishing settlement, it didn’t witness major developments till the arrival of the Portuguese in 1557! The Ming dynasty rulers allowed the foreign sailors to build permanent settlements against 18.9kg of silver.
Century later; in 1622, the Portuguese soldiers fought valorously against the Dutch invasion, and thus built themselves as an important part of Macao’s history. Soon, the Chinese and Portuguese traders joined hands and gave birth to strong trade relations with other Asian countries. It was the period when Macao rose like a phoenix and started rewriting history!
Present Day Macao:
Today, Macau is revered as one of the most flamboyant, grooviest, electrifying, and colourful places on earth! A year-round tourist destination, it boasts of its enchanting ambience while showcasing a perfectly balanced atmosphere that resonates both Chinese and Portuguese cultures in promising ways.
For those, who are yet to visit this magnificent and promising island region, why not embark on a virtual trip to discover the magical charm and appeal of Macau? Come, let’s walk through the cultural lanes of Macau; let’s revisit its past and revel in its alluring present through a congenial amalgamation of its diverse cultures and celebrations!
- Macao Lotus Flower Festival:
‘Purity’ being one of the main elements of Macao’s culture, is also believed to bring in good ‘Fortune’. Every year, this Chinese region celebrates the Lotus Flower Festival with high enthusiasm to bring in good luck and purity. Be it the parks, local restaurants, or public places, one can see these perennial flowers at display everywhere!
- Feast of Maidens:
Attended by thousands of unmarried women with deep faith and divinity, the Feast of Maidens is a must-to-attend festival if you want to witness the sanctity of Macau! Come and participate in the saga of love called Feast of Maidens; you never know, your Mr Perfect might be waiting for you in Macau!
- Feast of Buddha:
Buddhism has a profound impact on Macanese culture, and this can be vividly witnessed on eighth day of fourth moon when images of Lord Buddha are cleaned and purified. As a gusto, local men take over the streets carrying wooden dragon heads and tails while enjoying the revelry throughout the day.
- Dragon Boat Festival:
In addition to religious beliefs and practices, Macanese culture also glorifies the country’s heroes in splendid ways. The Dragon Boat Festival is one such festival that commemorates the political sacrifice of Wat Yuen, who gave away his life fighting against corruption by drowning himself.
- Macao Food Festival:
Food is one of the most integral part of Macanese culture. Come November, Macao hosts a gastronomic delight called the Macao Food Festival to showcase its culinary delights. Attended by locals as well as tourists from across the globe, this festive event is in fact one of the most flavoursome ways to get acquainted with Macao’s culture and traditions.
In addition to these five festivals, there are plenitude of other celebrations that bring out the liveliness of Macau’s cultural values and importance. Visit this amazing tourist region today to witness, explore, and enjoy its cultural amalgamation in the best ways!