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Macau Traditions

We give you a valuable insight into the traditions of this unique society and culture that has evolved over the centuries to give a singular blend of Chinese and Catholic beliefs that form today’s modern Macau.

Feng shui and Capitalism

feng shuiAs in Hong Kong, Macau residents are fervent believers in the powers of feng shui (pronounced “fung soy”). Feng shui is based on the principle of Chinese geomancy and the existence of two natural elements, “wind” and “water”. The role of the Feng shui master is to provide the optimal balance between man and his immediate environment, similarly to the Taoist principle of yin and yang, in an attempt to harmonize opposites.

Feng shui can be applied to the smallest detail, in a home or building. Constructions are also considered as living organisms, windows and doors as noses and hydrants, to draw the power and air necessary for the healthy life of the home or trade (in layman’s terms, money).

Feng shui masters also use astrology and Chinese numerology to determine the dates of all important events in the life of a man or woman. Dates such as marriage or setting up a business or even a major historical change. In this culture, numbers are all important and significant and the subject of numerous superstitions.

These examples that we give go to show that despite the appearance of western culture and sophistication, a capitalist business model with all the pertaining material luxuries, hotels, cars, modern comforts and the latest western fashion, the eye of the dragon remains ever open and respectful of age-old customs: family values, respect for ones ancestors and for the Mother country China. Modern Macau has developed the industry of casinos in recent decades, becoming an Asian hub for casino players who prefer land-based casinos to online casino.

Festivals and events

Chinese and Portuguese feasts are celebrated equally in Macau. The latter are obviously reminiscent of Portuguese Catholic ceremonies but with a tropical flavour. Visit the Macau Tourist website for a complete list of feasts and events throughout the current year.

The most impressive and colourful celebration is the Chinese new year (late January - early February). For 10 days the streets are full of activities, Lion and Dragon dances, streets and temples decorated, not forgetting the famous firework displays. Family and friends visit each offer bearing small red envelopes containing a little money to symbolically wish each other good fortune in every way. Many shops and offices are closed for the celebration.
The procession of “Nosso Senhor dos Passos” takes place every year on the first Sunday of Lent (February-March) between Santo Agosthino Church and the Cathedral, with reference to a popular miracle. The procession of Nossa Senhora da Fatima occurs each year on May 13th. Plenty of other Chinese festivals, such as the Day of the drunk Dragon (May), Dragon Boats (May or June) racing day and the Day of Mid-Autumn (September-October). For more details, read our section on feasts and events.


The International Fireworks Festival: September-October. Macau is still famous worldwide for its fireworks. There is a great international competition that takes place above Lake Nam Van. It is fairly popular and rather spectacular. A sight not to be missed if you happen to be there at that time!
The Lusophone Festival: During the first fortnight of October on Taipa Island, this interesting Portuguese cultural festival of everything Portuguese displays music, concerts, theatre, food stands and gastronomy from the former Portuguese colonies.

The International Music Festival

Two weeks in October. Opera, Chinese music, jazz, flamenco, dance, etc. The Grand Prix takes place during the 3rd weekend of November. If you are in Macau that weekend, you will not need to ask what is going on as you will be taken by the excitement that has prevailed around the Grand Prix since 1954. Motorbikes, cars and Formula 3 racing. Having said that, it is perhaps a period best avoided if you have no interest in such things, as it is sometimes necessary to book a hotel room one year in advance!


Buddhism is the dominant religion, though there remains a strong Catholic community, as well as Taoists in Macao.