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Year of celebration in Macau

1st April 2013 Print

With nearly 30 million visitors a year and a unique Portuguese-Chinese heritage, Macau is firmly on the map as one of the most exciting destinations in the Far East - and this year is no exception with a series of significant anniversaries and events shining the spotlight on this Special Administrative Region of China throughout 2013.

This year marks the 500th anniversary since the arrival of the Portuguese in Macau in the 16th century. The European influences remain today - from the architecture to the food - making it a true "one of a kind" in the Far East. The destination's distinctive blend of cultures is reflected in the Historic Centre of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprised of over 20 historic Sino-Portuguese buildings, as well as the East-meets-West flavours incorporated in Macanese cuisine, which features influences from Portugal, China, South America, Africa, India and Malaysia. 

In addition, Macau hosts a wealth of colourful events and festivals that further reveal its unique multicultural heritage and traditions all year round. In 2013, two of these esteemed events are set to be even more special as they celebrate important anniversaries. The 25th anniversary of the Macau International Fireworks Display Contest, one of the biggest of its kind in the world, will take place in September/October. The following month marks the 60th year of the Macau Grand Prix, when tourists and locals will line the streets creating a party atmosphere as both cars and motorcycles separately race on one of the most demanding circuits in the world.

Other highlights taking place in 2013 include:

24th Macau Arts Festival

3rd May - 1st June 2013 (tentative dates)

Performance artists from across the world gather in Macau for the annual Arts Festival. Over the course of a month, audiences can enjoy a dazzling programme of local and international theatre, traditional and modern dance, Chinese and Western music, visual arts including painting exhibitions and circus spectacles - and more - at several UNESCO-listed auditoriums across Macau.

Feast of the Drunken Dragon

17th May 2013

One of Macau's most famous - and colourful - local festivals, this event involves fishermen drinking large amounts of rice wine and dancing with wooden dragons in a procession that takes them from the Kuan Tai temple near Senado Square to Macau's Inner harbour. This is all done to commemorate the slaying of a sea dragon.

Macau International Dragon Boat Festival

8th, 9th and 12th June 2013

The Dragon Boat Festival combines a traditional celebration with the exciting pace of a sporting event. It originates from an event which took place in ancient years when Wat Yuen, a famous poet and royal minister, threw himself into a river when his king fell under the influence of corrupt officials and refused to heed Wat Yuen's wise advice. Today, it is key event with huge crowds gathering to watch elaborately-designed dragon boats race to the sound of beating drums, as if they are looking for Wat Yuen's body. Rowers win by grabbing the flag at the end of the course. Among the world's oldest organised sports, the Dragon Boat Races date back over 2,000 years and take place on Macau's Nam Van Lake.

25th Macau International Fireworks Display Contest

14th, 19th, 21st, 28th September & 1st October 2013 (tentative dates)

The Macau International Fireworks Display Contest, one of the largest and best of its kind in the world, will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2013. Each year, this spectacular contest attracts around 10 teams from across the globe who over a series of Saturday nights compete to produce the best dramatic shows, set to music, that light up the night sky of Macau in a myriad of colours. The colourful event has grown to become the world's biggest competitive fireworks event and attracts huge crowds overlooking the Nam Van Lake. The contest culminates in a national holiday.

Mid-Autumn Festival

19th September 2013

Dating back over 3,000 years to China's Zhou dynasty, this popular Chinese festival of abundance and togetherness is held during the full moon of the eighth month in the lunar calendar, roughly mid-September. It is famous for families coming together to make and eat mooncakes - a pastry filled with sweet lotus paste. The festival is also known as the Lantern Festival and thousands of lanterns are hung from trees and buildings at this time.

27th Macau International Music Festival

5th October - 3rd November 2013 (tentative dates)

The Macau International Music Festival brings a host of local and internationally-acclaimed artists to Macau. During the prestigious month-long event, a selection of the world's finest singers, choirs, orchestras and musicians perform an eclectic mix of genres, ranging from Western blues to Cantonese opera. The festival has evolved into a major musical event in the city, allowing audiences to enjoy uplifting music in several World Heritage sites, such as the classical Dom Pedro V Theatre, Mount Fortress and St. Dominic's Church.

16th Lusofonia Festival

25th - 27th October 2013 (tentative dates)

The Lusofonia Festival celebrates the combining of Chinese and Portuguese cultures in Macau. Traditionally celebrated by the local Portuguese-speaking community, the event features live musical performances, traditional games, handmade products, art collections and authentic snacks from Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Goa, Daman and Diu, Giunea-Bissau, Macau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé e Príncipe and East Timor. The party lasts from noon until midnight.

Macau Food Festival

November 2013

The Macau Food Festival, featuring food from around the world, is held in Sai Van Lake Square. The festival combines delicious Asian, European and Macanese delicacies with exciting entertainment and fun for everyone. There is lots of choice for budding gourmands with tastes from around the world all on offer in one place, together with live musical performances, games booths and fireworks displays.

60th Macau Grand Prix

9th - 10th & 14th - 17th November 2013 

Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2013, the Macau Grand Prix is one of the biggest events of the year and a favourite of motor sports fans. The world-class event, hosted by Macau since 1953, represents the climax of the Formula 3 calendar. Famous past winners include Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard. During the official days of the Grand Prix, the city buzzes with excitement as both car and motorcycles races compete on one of the most challenging street circuits in the world.

Macau International Marathon

1st December 2013

This popular marathon continues to attract local and international long distance runners to compete every year. The full course marathon takes in a stunning course that circles the Peninsula and crosses to the islands of Taipa and Coloane. Athletes can opt to compete in a full, half or mini marathon of just a few kilometres. During the race, hundreds of runners will pass streets dotted with historic Chinese and Portuguese-style buildings, as well as scenic coastal routes that showcase Macau's natural beauty.

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