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On the southeastern coast of China – 60 kilometres (37 miles) west of Hong Kong – Macau was initially settled by Chinese farmers and fishermen. In 1550, when Portuguese merchants reached Macau, the city became the first European colony in Asia, creating a one-of-a-kind cultural mix. In 1999, Macau reverted to Chinese rule as a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
Although only 29.5 square kilometres (11 square miles) in size – with a population of some 558,100 people – Macau offers plentiful attractions, activities and entertainment for visitors. A unique fusion of East and West, the Historic Centre of Macau is a designated World Heritage Site, with narrow cobblestone streets, colourful Chinese shops, incense-filled temples and distinctive colonial Macanese architecture.
In contrast to its historic core, the Cotai Strip – which links the islands of Taipa and Coloane – is developing into a fast-paced gaming destination with an atmosphere akin to the Las Vegas Strip. The area features 34 world-class casinos and themed hotels, providing abundant choices for food, entertainment, shopping and conventions.
The main language is Cantonese; Portuguese, Mandarin and English are also spoken.
Local voltage is 220 volts. Adapters available; please request through Housekeeping.
The Shoppes at Four Seasons and the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian Macao:
Sunday to Thursday
10:00 am to 11:00 pm
Friday and Saturday
10:00 am to 12:00 midnight
10:00 am to 10:00 pm
Monday to Friday
9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Below are brief descriptions of the major holidays and events in the region followed by a public holidays calendar.
- New Year’s Day is celebrated in China, however the lunar new year is a far more important holiday often called Spring Festival.
- Zhonghe Festival, (Longtaitou) falls on the second day of the second month in the lunar calendar and celebrates the dragon as humanity’s distant ancestor as well as the bringer of spring rains.
- Easter. This holiday is widely celebrated across Macau. Many shops sell specialty Easter items, including chocolates, Portuguese folar egg cake and many other items.
- Birthday of Pak Tai. Performances of Chinese opera are usually held in a mat-shed at the Pak Tai Temple in Taipa village. According to legend, Pak Tai conquered Demon King, who was terrorizing the universe. As a reward, he was given the title of Superior Divinity of the Deep Dark Heaven and True Soldier of the North.
- Spring Festival is the most important Chinese holiday and is marked by one of the grandest fireworks displays in the world. The dates vary each year, but it usually falls in late-January or early-February and lasts for 15 days.
- The Lantern Festival, held on the 15th day of the first lunar month, marks the end of China's new year celebrations. Traditional dancers in colourful costumes take to the streets. At night, lantern-lit parades illuminate the city.
- Tomb Sweeping Festival, (Qingming) is a nationwide day for mourning the dead. The Chinese people use the occasion to pay their respects to their ancestors and to tidy tombs and grave sites by removing weeds and leaves. This festival is also celebrated as a day that welcomes the coming of spring, when all is new and fresh.
- International Labour Day, aka May Day, is celebrated as a public holiday in China. Join the crowds of thousands on May 1st to see the early-morning flag-raising ceremony.
- Macau Arts Festival. During this festival, which is organized by the Cultural Affairs Bureau, the cultural diversity of Macau comes to the forefront as the city's cultural associations and institutes put on their best shows. The program includes concerts, dance, painting exhibitions, Chinese opera, theatre and more.
- Feast of the Drunken Dragon. This festival is organized by Macau's fishermen's associations to honour the dragon of myth that saved the population from the plague. The feast starts in the morning in the Kuan Tai Temple near Senado Square, where men wearing wooden heads and dragon tails perform a drunken dance. The performers continue to the Inner Harbour, visiting waterfront shops along the way and drinking wine at each stop. The participants and spectators end the day with a celebratory dinner.
- Tam Kong Festival. A colourful festival celebrating the birthday of the God Tam Kong. This child god is said to control the weather and help the sick. There is Chinese opera, a procession through the streets and lively lion dances, while traditional offerings are made and firecrackers burned near Coloane Village’s Tam Kong Temple.
- Procession of Our Lady of Fátima. This is an annual procession of devotees, from S. Domingos Church to the Penha Chapel where an open-air mass is held. The event commemorates the miracle of Fátima in Portugal in 1917.
- Dragon Boat Festival. This ancient Chinese festival commemorates the heroic poet Wat Yuen, who protested the emperor's corruption by drowning himself. Teams compete on Nam Van Lakes in dramatic dragon boat races.
- Feast of Maidens. Sometimes referred to as the Lovers’ Festival, it falls on the seventh day of the seventh moon on the lunar calendar and has deep meaning for unmarried women. The festival celebrates the only day in the year when the legendary Heavenly Weaver can meet her lover, the Cowherd, over a bridge of birds spanning the Milky Way.
- Macau Open. With the presence of high-profile players and support of the Macau Golf and Country Club, the Macau Open gives the region’s golfers a chance to test their skills against the best in the world.
- Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. The centre of this celebration is the Moon on the 15th day of the 8th month, according to the lunar calendar. People make special lunar cakes, which they offer to friends. At night, everybody goes out to observe the new moon and to worship the gods with colourful and exquisite lanterns. In Macau, traditional locations for these celebrations include the Praia Grande and Nam Van Lakes, all gardens and Hac-Sa and Cheoc-Van beaches in Coloane.
- Macau International Fireworks Display Contest. This event is one of the largest of its kind and one of the most important fireworks contests in the world. The displays are held over Nam Van Lake.
- Chung Yeung Festival. Also known as the Festival of Ascending Heights, this holiday is celebrated by the Chinese, when many people climb hills after offering prayers at family graves.
- Macau International Music Festival. Every year, this festival brings some of the finest orchestras, singers, choirs and musicians to Macau to celebrate Western and Chinese classical and modern music.
- Macau International Trade & Investment Fair. This integrated exposition comprises a high-ranking political and economic forum, a product exhibition, business matching, international purchasing and professional presentations.
- National Day. Brave the crowds on October 1st as National Day celebrations happen around China. Marking the day the Communist Party came into power, the events include floral sculptures, concert series and large-scale fireworks displays in major parks.
- Macau Grand Prix. With its five-decade history, this is Macau's most internationally recognized event. Enjoy the extraordinary excitement in the city – the noise of the engines, the crowds of tourists and the colourful decoration of the streets.
- Macau International Marathon. This race takes place over a full course that circles the peninsula and crosses to Taipa and Coloane islands. Runners from around the world will join hundreds of Macau and Hong Kong athletes.
- Christmas. Enjoy traditional Portuguese Christmas cakes amid a city decorated with lights and nativity scenes.
Macau Public holidays 2016
|New Year's Day||January 1|
|First day of the Lunar New Year||February 8|
|Second day of the Lunar New Year||February 9|
|Third day of the Lunar New Year||February 10|
|Good Friday/td>||March 25|
|Cheng Ming Festival||April 4|
|Labor Day||May 1|
|Tung Ng Festival (Dragon Boat Festival)||June 9|
|Bank's Public Holiday||July 1|
|The Day Following Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival||September 16|
|National Day||October 1|
|Festival of Ancestors (Chung Yeung Festival)||October 9|
|All Soul's Day||November 2|
|Feast of Immaculate Conception||December 8|
|Macau Establishment Day||December 20|
|Winter Solstice||December 21|
|Christmas Day||December 25|