Nothing spells fun better than hitting the many events and festivals around Macau. From Chinese lion dances to burning incense for hungry ghosts to religious festivals brought to the former Portuguese outpost by Jesuit priests and Portuguese conquerors, there’s a celebration for all occasions in Macau. It’s worth planning your trip to coincide with a celebration as Macau comes alive during these crowd-pleasing blockbuster events. Here are top five cool Macau events.
1-Macau International Dragon Boat Race and Festival
This neck to neck nautical battle is an exciting ancient tribal seafaring competition. Throngs of cheerleaders whirling brightly coloured shakers cheer the teams while tambourine revellers in the grandstand just can’t get enough.
Make your way to the dragon boat race central at Nam Van Lake Nautical Centre on the Macau Peninsula or if you’re like many catch it live on the telly.
Watch elaborately hand carved wooden boats bearing the famous dragon heads effortlessly glide over these shimmering waters. Like a lot of Asian celebrations, this one has a lunar connection, scheduled on the fifth month, often on the fifth day.
Macanese love this festival so much the territory has declared the Macau International Dragon Boat Race and Festival a public holiday.
When? June each year
2-15th Macau City Fringe Festival
It’s artist mayhem during this 15-day Macau City Fringe Festival, an arts bonanza. In between the performances great chinoiserie touches are part of the fun.
See dragons, clowns clad in red, drum performers, and an array of eclectic designers from jewellery to ceramicists to funky graphics, many of them incorporating fabulous Macanese themes like local amphibians and reptiles.
3-62nd Macau Grand Prix
Plenty has changed since the beginning of this car rally classic. For starters, it’s the premise.
In 1954, amateur racers took to the streets part of a treasure hunt but that changed when a pro racer named Mauro Bianchi, a Belgian driver, hit the streets in his shining Alpine Renault A220 in 1966 changing the whole race entirely.
Now spread over four days in November, racing fans and speed junkies arrive to watch some of the world’s best drivers compete for the stellar trophy at the Macau Grand Prix.
It’s one of the most exhilarating Macau events on the annual calender.
4-The Macau International Fireworks
It’s definitely glittering nights in September and early October. That’s when a kaleidoscope of colour illuminates the dark sky once a week in this brilliant pageantry of fireworks.
The blazing pyrotechnics is one of the most highly anticipated Macau events on the annual calender. The event welcomes a select group of countries from around the globe to celebrate together in one huge starburst.
The backdrop is impressive too. The Macau International Fireworks festival is staged along the Macau Tower shorefront studded in a string of other skyscrapers, each illuminated of course in their own dazzling colour of lights.
When? September to October
5-Feast of the Hungry Ghosts
Are you ready for ghost month? Come night time on a special date in August find many people around Macau turning to prayer.
Known as the feast of the hungry ghosts in Buddhist culture, the faithful like to celebrate the spiritually inducing event on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month.
Lots of superstition and symbols are wrapped around this ancient celebration. There are lanterns which are hung and float on the water to help guide the invisible ghosts to operas and banquets; and, ‘hell money’ which are phoney paper banknotes that are piled high and burnt to please the visiting ghosts.
Many choose to be housebound, fearing to leave their homes but then many also like to gather together and pay their respects to the deceased by giving offerings and burning incense. It seems by doing this you feel better and have good health.
What’s On Macau mobile app provides information about Macau’s tourist attractions along with monthly highlights of events, activities, festivals and exhibitions. The app is available on iPhone and android in English and Chinese. There are plenty of things to do in Macau for families with kids.
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For a list of events in Macau see