34 Fantastic Festivals in Macao

Find out why Macao is a festival city

34 Fantastic Festivals in Macao

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Chinese New Year macau festival
Chinese New Year is a special time to visit Macao but if you can't wait until next year, we have a huge list of amazing Macau festivals for you to plan your trip around.

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A city of festivals, with an exciting calendar throughout the year, there’s no doubt that Macao knows how to throw a party. What’s more, Macao’s rich heritage inherited from the Portuguese and Chinese gives it the edge in the festival department.  

From Chinese lion dances to burning incense for hungry ghosts to religious festivals brought to the former Portuguese colony by Jesuit priests and Portuguese conquerors, Macao’s festivals are a feast for the eyes.

During a festival, the colourful decorations, costumes and dances add another dimension to those wonderful places to visit in Macau.

Whether you’re stopping over for one day in Macao or have time for a longer stay, it’s worth adding a festival or two do your list of things to do in Macau.

Macau comes alive during these crowd-pleasing blockbuster events, so, here’s our guide to celebrations, events and festivals in Macao in 2019 and beyond.

If you’re keen on exploring the Historic Centre of Macau, pick a Macau itinerary from these five options. 

Macau festivals list

Ching Ming

5 April 2019

If you ever wanted to see money going up in smoke, the Ching Ming festival is the time to go to Macao.

Ching Ming is a family festival, a day when people pay respects to their ancestors.

They tidy the tombstones, offer fresh flowers and glasses of wine to their ancestors.

They burn joss sticks, paper cars, fake money and other earthly goods as a symbolic gesture that the dead will receive these offerings on the other side.

Families also present roast pigs, fruit and other food to the deceased and the day usually ends with a huge family feast.

Feast of Pak Tai

7 April 2019

feast of pak tai
The Feast of Pak Tai is another Macau festival where you can soak up Chinese culture.

Pak Tai Temple in Taipa Village is the place to see lion and dragon dances and Chinese Opera performed during this festival.

According to legend, Pak Tai was the hero who defeated the Demon King, who was terrorising earth.

The fishermen who lived in Taipa were devoted to this Taoist god.

Easter in Macao

19 to 20 April 2019

Easter in Macao

The Portuguese colonisation of Macao brought a focus on Easter, which is an important time of year in Macao.

Shops are stocked with Easter goodies, like chocolates, pastries and Portuguese Easter Cake (Folar da Páscoa) but make sure to try Macao’s famous Portuguese egg tarts too. 

Macao’s historic position as the power centre for Catholicism in Asia brought with it many Easter-associated ceremonies and traditions that have continued to play a part in Macao’s Easter celebrations.

A-Ma Festival

27 April 2019

Festival Macau A Ma
Visit Macau during the A-Ma Festival for a fascinating cultural experience.

Join the crowds paying homage to the Goddess of Seafarers and celebrate how Macao got its name. 

According to legend, Taoist goddess A-Ma (or Tin Hau) used her magic powers to save a junk that was caught in a storm in the South China Sea.

The goddess took control of the elements and saved everyone on board. 

The grateful sailors built the A-Ma Temple on the spot where the boat landed, and to this day, seafarers continue to visit the ancient temple to give thanks to the merciful goddess. 

30th Macao Arts Festival

4 May to 2 June 2019

Macau Arts Festival
The Macao Arts Festival is a major International festival in Macao.

The Macao Arts Festival is a major festival in Macao, with a different theme each year. 

The festival promotes the arts in Macao by bringing together international and local artists who perform in over 100 shows each year. 

There’s a balanced programme of contemporary theatre and music, traditional cultural performances and family entertainment designed to appeal to a broad audience. 

Three Feasts

12 May 2019

Feast of Buddha – Feast of the Drunken Dragon – Tam Kong Festival

feast of drunken dragon macao
Fun festivities in Macau during the Feast of the Drunken Dragon.

The three festivals on one day make this day a fantastic time to soak up Macao’s fantastic fables and folklore than underpin Chinese culture. 

The Feast of Buddha is also known as the Feast of the Bathing of Lord Buddha as all the statues of Buddha in the temples in Macao and ceremonially washed.

Feast of the Drunken Dragon starts at the Kuan Tai Temple near Senado Square, where men perform an energetic “drunken dance” with a dragon’s head and tail (see above).

The dance is followed by a street parade and much drinking as the festival is in honour of a man who consumed alcohol to pluck up the courage to fight an evil dragon. 

Another dragon dance, street procession and Cantonese Opera marks the Tam Kong Festival, which celebrates the birthday of the child god who had the power to control the weather and heal sick children.

Procession of Our Lady of Fatima

13 May 2019

Macau festival lady of fatima
This unique Macau festival is rooted in Portuguese culture.

In May 1917, on their way home from tending to sheep near the village of Fatima in Portugal, three children claimed the Virgin Mary revealed secrets about the future.  

Word spread and 70,000 people turned up to see what the Catholic Church calls “the Miracle of the Sun,” (according to reports, the sun emerged from behind clouds spinning and trembling). 

In honour of this miracle and other predictions, the Procession of Our Lady of Fatima starts at the S. Domingos Church, parading through the streets to the Penha Chapel and ends with an open-air mass.

International Dragon Boat Races and Festival

1,2 and 7 June 2019

macau festival dragon boat races
The Macau International Dragon Boat Festival is a fantastic festival in Macau for atmosphere.

This ancient tribal seafaring competition is more exciting than a Rugby game, with cheerleaders whirling bright shakers and revellers in the grandstands shouting, cheering and shaking tambourines. 

The atmosphere at Nam Van Lake Nautical Centre crackles with energy as the teams race neck-to-neck in hand-carved wooden boats.

The Macau International Dragon Boat Race and Festival a public holiday in Macao.

19th Macao Lotus Flower Festival

3 to 16 June

macau lotus flower featival
Keen gardeners will love the Macao Lotus Festival.

Visit Macao during the festival and you’ll be enchanted by the sight of pots of lotus in the parks, streets and popular attractions. 

If you’re keen to see more, head to the Taipa Houses Museum and Lou Lim Ieoc Garden for a showcase. 

Many of Macao’s Chinese restaurants serve up seasonal lotus-themed dishes during the Macao Lotus Flower Festival. 

The lotus has been a symbol of Chinese culture for centuries and is part of the emblem on the Macao SAR flag. 

Feast of Na Tcha

20 June 2019

Celebrating the birthday of a child god Na Tcha, feasts and ceremonies are held at the Na Tcha Temple near the Ruins of St. Paul’s, and the Na Tcha Ancient Temple on Calçada das Verdades.

Follow the parade through the streets, watch the ceremonial events and Cantonese opera during this festival in honour of the god that protects children from evil spirits and illness. 

Feast of Kuan Tai

26 July 2019

Another Chinese cultural event, the feast of Kuan Tai pays homage to the deity in Macao associated with loyalty.

Those who believe in the powers of Kuan Tai offer burn joss sticks, offer fresh flowers and other items to worship Kuan Tai in their homes. 

Many local shops also display Kuan Tai statues and if you’re visiting Macao, the Kuan Tai Temple is the place to go to see believers burn joss sticks and make ritual offerings before the lion and dragon dance performances and sporting competitions. 

Wushu Masters Challenge 

1 to 4 August 2019

macau festival wushu
The Wushu Masters Challenge is an Asian martial arts festival that is fast gaining popularity.

Macao’s Wushu Masters Challenge is a four-day themed event where Wushu martial arts experts show off an impressive display of flexibility, speed and technique.

Wushu is a contemporary martial arts discipline that evolved from traditional Chinese martial arts.

Events include Sanda (which is a bit like Muay Thai or kickboxing), Taoulu (for impressive displays of flying kicks), dragon and lion dances.

Feast of Maidens

7 August 2019

Also known as the Lovers’ Festival, the Feast of Maidens is on the seventh day of the seventh moon on the lunar calendar. 

It’s a romantic festival for unmarried women, celebrating the one day every year when the Heavenly Weaver meets up with her lover, the Cowherd.

The lovers meet over a bridge of birds across the Milky Way.

Feast of the Hungry Ghosts

14 August 2019

Are you ready for ghost month? The hungry ghosts come out to play and lots of superstition and symbols are wrapped around this ancient celebration.

People hang lanterns to guide the invisible ghosts to operas and banquets; and, fake paper notes are burnt to appease the visiting ghosts.

Those who are superstitious choose to be housebound out of fear of encountering an evil spirit. 

Visiting Macao during the Feast of the Hungry Ghosts – a traditional Chinese festival to appease the souls of ancestors and forgotten spirits – is an opportunity to experience a slice of living culture in Macao. 

30th Macao International Fireworks Display

7 September to 5 October 2019

Macao Fireworks display
If you want to be impressed, visit Macao during the Macao International Fireworks Display.

Each September, fireworks experts from all around the world travel to Macao to compete in this major international fireworks competition.

The 30thMacao International Fireworks Display Contest is an international competition of substance.

Visiting Macao during the festival is one of the best times of the year to travel to Macao with kids.

Mid-Autumn Festival

13 September 2019

macau mid autumn festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival in Macao is another great time to see the lights.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a time when Chinese families unite and enjoy a family feast or a picnic in one of Macao’s lovely spots. 

It’s a festival where children play with glittery lanterns and mooncakes made from ground lotus and sesame are offered as gifts to friends and family.

The mooncakes are made to remember the 14th-century uprising against the Mongols when revolution leaders communicated plans through embedded paper messages in the cakes.

Festival of Ancestors (Chung Yeung Festival)

7 October 2019

If you like hiking, you might enjoy the Chung Yeung Festival, which is also called the Festival of Ascending Heights or Double Ninth Festival.

This is another traditional Chinese festival, where many people believe that climbing hills after praying at the graves of their ancestors will bring good luck and keep calamity at bay.

22nd Lusofonia Festival

18 to 20 October 2019

lusofonia festival macao
For a potpourri of eastern and western culture, visit Macao during the Lusofonia. Festival

The Lusofonia Festival is a three-day festival of Macao’s Portuguese culture, music, dance, games and food.

Wander around and watch the dancers as you nibble on tasty Portuguese treats.

The festival is held the Taipa Houses Museum and is a celebration of Portuguese-speaking communities around the world. 

In previous years, booths representing Portuguese communities around the world have had displays from other regions conquered by the Portuguese.

17th Macau A-Ma Cultural & Tourism Festival

October

a ma tourism festival
Enjoy cultural performances at the A-Ma Festival in Macao.

The A-Ma Cultural & Tourism Festival begins with a grand opening ceremony at the A-Ma Cultural Village.

The statue of the goddess A-Ma is one of the world’s tallest statues and sits on the top of a mountain on Coloane Island.

A-Ma village is a cultural complex with halls, pavilions and towers.  

Make sure to be there for the parade to soak up the vibrant atmosphere as folk dancing teams dance through the streets.

33rd Macau International Music Festival

4 October to 3 November 2019

macau music festival
Macao’s International Music Festival attracts musicians from around the world.

A unique aspect of the Macau International Music Festival is that music is performed in World Heritage sites.

The festival presents a fusion of Eastern and Western music in locations around Macao.

There’s something truly inspiring about listening to opera, orchestral and chamber music, or even Chinese folk music and jazz in a World Heritage site such as Dom Pedro V Theatre, Mount Fortress or St. Dominic’s Church.

19th Macau Food Festival

8 to 24 November 2019

Macao Food Festival
Famous for its Macanese cuisine, tasting the food in Macao should be high on your agenda. What better way to do it than at the Macao Food Festival.

Macao shows off its culinary treats at this festival, where hundreds of local food merchants will participate in events to present Macao’s unique food culture to visitors and locals.

Taste the unique flavours of Macanese cuisine as well as a range of Asian and international food. 

The festival is held at Sai Van Lake Square and is a fun time for all the family, with food stalls, live performances and competitions. 

66thMacau Grand Prix

14 to 17 November 2019

macao grand prix
The world-famous Macao Grand Prix is usually booked out well in advance, so if you’re keen on racing, make your plans now!

The Macau Grand Prix is Macao’s biggest international sporting event held annually. Formula 3 racing cars, motorcycles and saloon cars compete in this spectacle on the Guia circuit.

The Macau Grand Prix is growing fast. Last year, the event was broadcasted over 93 networks and streamed live to 11.5 million viewers.

If there’s one event where you’re guaranteed an exciting time in Macao, this is it.

Macao Light Festival

December

macao light festival
Macao turns into an enchanting fairyland during the Macao Light Festival.

Macao turns into a fairyland in the month of December, when the Macao Light Festival illuminates the city with displays of colourful twinkling lights and 3D projections.

It’s enchanting to see Macao’s World Heritage buildings lit up in a glittering display of creativity.

Feast of Immaculate Conception

8 December 2019

The Feast of Immaculate Conception is a traditional Christian festival and a public holiday in Macao.

It’s a holy day when Macao’s Catholic churches have special masses.

4th International Film Festival and Awards Macao

December

maccao inteernational film festival
Holloywood glamour arrives in Macao during this glitzy Macao event.

In the past, Macao has starred in many movies, including the 23rd James Bond movie Skyfall, The Audition and The Man with the Golden Gun.

The 4th International Film Festival and Awards Macao aim to encourage new filmmakers and the festival is the event to attend if you want to be one of the first to discover new talent.

Winter Solstice

22 December 2019

Winter Solstice is a traditional Chinese celebration, and a public holiday, when Macao’s top chefs pull out all stops to create unique menus.

In Macao, Winter Solstice is a huge day of feasting, so if you love food, this is a perfect time to visit Macao.

Macao International Parade

December

Macao International Parade
The Macao International Parade is a vibrant and energetic Macau festival.

The Macao International Parade is a fun and colourful themed parade through Macao that bridges the gap between past and present.

The costumes are eye-popping and the music will make you want to join the jig.

Christmas in Macao

24 and 25 December 2019

christmas in senado square
Christmas is the season to eat, drink, be merry in Macao.

Experience a touch of Europe in Macao as the city lights up with Christmas lights and Nativity scenes.

Macao’s Portuguese roots come to the fore as cake shops and hotels offer traditional Portuguese Christmas cakes.

17th Macao City Fringe Festival

January 2020

macau fringe festival 2018
Explore Macao’s creative side at the Macao Fringe Festival.

Discover Macao’s artistic side at the 17th Macao City Fringe Festival by attending workshops, talks and creative events.

The 10-day festival has an exciting programme of cutting-edge 21st-century surprises from world-renowned contemporary artists and creative crowd-sourcing such as the Auction of Love Stories, a performance inviting the public to submit love stories for auction.

Chinese New Year

February 2020

Chinese New Year is a major celebration all over the world, however, Macao’s fusion of Portuguese and Chinese cultures makes the celebration in Macao particularly colourful.

It’s a multi-day event with markets, performances, lion and dragon dances and parades. The Chinese New Year parades are impressive and worth planning your trip around (February).

Seeing the streets of Macao during the festival will lift your spirits.

2019 started off with a bang with the Chinese New Year of the Pig celebrations taking place throughout Macao.

From a colourful and energetic parade and spectacular fireworks displays, the celebrations were only the start of what is shaping up to be an exciting year.

Feast of Tou Tai

March 2020

feast of tou tai
Attend a Chinese Opera during the Feast of Tou Tai.

According to an ancient legend, Tou Tei (God of Earth) is a god that has power over the earthly realm.

Tou Tei statues can be found in shops, homes and there are Tou Tei temples dedicated to this god, such as the Patane Tou Tei Temple and Fok Tak Chi in Horta da Mitra.

In the past, farmers prayed to Tou Tei for fertile land and big harvests. A roasted pig and Cantonese opera are some of the gifts to Tou Tei.

Procession of the Passion of the Lord God Jesus

March 2020

procession of our lord god jesus
Macao’s Portuguese past comes to the fore during the Procession of Our Lord God Jesus.

Another parade that coincides with Chinese New Year is the Procession of the Passion of the Lord God Jesus, which is a unique Macao religious celebration.

An image of Christ carrying the Cross is carried through the streets in solemn procession between St. Augustine’s Church, the solemn procession between St. Augustine’s Church, the Cathedral and the city.

Plan your visit to Macao

Inspired to take a trip to Macao? Here are some resources to help you decide on things to do, places to visit, where to stay and where to eat in Macau.

Where to say in Macao

Macao has experienced explosive growth, with new hotels popping up each year. Read our Macau Hotel Guide to find out where to stay. 

If you’re travelling on a budget, here are some cheap Macau hotels too. 

Where to eat in Macao 

As a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, Macao is a delightful dining destination. Macao’s restaurants dish up a range of delicious food, from traditional Macanese to Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese and International fare. Check out our Macau Restaurant Guide for the best restaurants in Macao. 

Macau Festivals
Macau Festivals
 

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I'm a writer, photographer and video blogger based in Queensland, Australia, when I'm not on the road. I've lived in three continents and my career as a travel journalist has taken me to all seven continents. Since 2003, I have contributed travel stories to mainstream media in Australia and around the world such as the Sydney Morning Herald, CNN Traveller, The Australian and the South China Morning Post. I have won many travel writing awards and I'm a full member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers.

12 COMMENTS

  1. We are sorry we did not get to Macau when we were in Hong Kong. I would never have known there are 34 festivals in Macao. But then with the Chinese and Portuguese heritage is does make sense. I love festivals with lots of colour and dance so might want to visit for Pak Tai. Visiting when there are 3 festivals on one day would be good for a quick visit. But the dragon boat festival would probably be my favourite. This is a great list to plan a visit to Macao by.

  2. I’ve just finished watching the TOp Chef finale in Macao and it had me wanting to plan a trip here. Of course I’d love to visit during the Food Festival but the Light Festival looks absolutely stunning!

    • It’s a good time to go. As Macao is a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, there are some interesting things happening around food this year.

  3. I love it when I am in Macau and checking out the festivals. I love the dragon boat festival the best, especially when its a nice sunny day. So much colour. Can’t wait for my next adventure there.

    • Wow, that’s great you’ve actually been to the Macao International Dragon Boat Festival. It’s one of the classic festivals that locals love to go to.

  4. 34 festivals! What a pity I didn’t get to see even one during my short 3 days visit. The pool around Taipa museum had not blooming lotus then. Very handy list with dates, useful for planning a trip there.

    • That’s a shame you happened to visit during a festival-less window! Hope you manage to catch a colourful festival next time you visit Macao.

  5. My sister spends a lot of time in Macau, and loves all the festivals – especially the Grand Prix! I’d love to be there for the Arts Festival and Fringe Festival – anything artistic is a draw for me.

  6. I think I would really like the Feast of Buddha and the Arts Festival. But, if I could only pick one, it would be the Feast of Pak Tai with the lion and the dragon dances

  7. Macau is becoming more and more popular and I love it. I had no idea they had so many festivals on there. I think the festival of lights would be amazing to see. So many good ones here.

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