Culture of Macau
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Culture of Macau

Macau is an autonomous territory within China. A Portuguese colony until 1999, Macau has a diverse culture firmly rooted in Cantonese culture, with a mix of influences from East Asia and Western Europe. Macau is known for being the largest gambling center in the world.

A sign in both Chinese and Portuguese in Macau - "?" (in Chinese) and "Cartório da Sé" (in Portuguese), which means "Office of the Cathedral."

People and languages

The two official languages of Macau are Chinese and Portuguese although the latter is only spoken by a small minority. English is also widely spoken.

The Macanese language, generally known as Patuá, is a distinctive creole that is still spoken by several dozen members of the Macanese people, an ethnic group of mixed Asian and Portuguese ancestry that accounts for a small percentage of Macau's population.

Signs in Macau are displayed in both Traditional Chinese and Portuguese. In contrast to mainland China, Macau--along with Hong Kong and Taiwan--generally does not use Simplified Chinese characters.

Among the main migrants of the country are skilled workers from the Philippines, hence Tagalog is one of the most-heard foreign languages.

Cultural identity

The worldwide popularity of Cantonese food and Chinese martial arts (kung fu in Cantonese or wu shu in Mandarin) has made them popular in Portugal as well.

In 1998, the first Festival da Lusofonia took place in Macau, a festival of Portuguese-speaking communities. In November 2013, the 16th edition of the festival took place over the duration of two and a half days with musical activities, kids programmes, traditional Portuguese games and food from Portuguese speaking countries' cuisines.[1]

Mass media

Most of the pop music that can be heard on the channel TDM Teledifusão de Macau ()[2] is imported from Hong Kong or overseas (mainly Japan). However, more and more local songs are being recorded by locals. Some Brazilian TV stations are also broadcast in Macau.


Macanese cuisine is a blend of southern Chinese (especially Cantonese cuisine) and Portuguese cuisines, with significant influences from Southeast Asia and the Lusophone world. The most famous snack is the Portuguese-style egg tart. It is widely popular in Southeast Asia, especially in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The most famous Macanese food is Galinha à portuguesa which is served in numerous varieties in Macau restaurants.


The primary religion is Buddhism. Roman Catholicism has considerable influence in education and social welfare in Macau. However, adherents only count for about six percent of the population. Protestantism is spreading quickly, especially among the younger demographic groups.

Chinese traditional medicine

The practice of traditional Chinese medicine is an inalienable part of culture in the sphere of medical education, and a very common, alternative, and popular choice of treatment in Macau, for people of all social classes. With over 90 percent of its population having Chinese ancestry, Macau has had a long history of using Chinese medicine.

A Pan-Pearl River Delta Forum and Exhibition for Chinese Medicine was held in Macau from June 21 to 23, 2005, intended to further Macau's ambitions of becoming a means of access to Chinese traditional medicine for the international market.


Dom Pedro V theatre


A few independent films have been produced since the late 1990s. Some of the well-known productions include:

  • ? by Vincent Hui (2000)
  • Love Is Not A Sin (?) by Doug Chan (2003). Winner of Golden DV Award (27th HKIFF), Winner of The Best Original Screenplay Award (1st Downunder International Film Festival, Darwin).
  • macau.xmas.2005 (..2005)[3] by Sio (2005).[4]


The Macau International Music Festival is conducted by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macau SAR Government every autumn.[5] The 20th anniversary of the MIMF was celebrated in 2007 with performances of Jazz, classical music, electronica, Chinese folk-pop, rock and Fado.[6]

Other Lusophone music types popular in Macao are samba, bossa nova, and kizomba.[7]

In 2005, the Hush!! Full Band Festival got established, a government-sponsored modern music festival featuring pop rock and hard rock bands from all over Asia with a focus on Macau bands. The festival is free of charge and it's in its 9th edition in 2013.[8]


Robert Ho Tung library in Macau.

The literature of Macanese (i.e. those with Portuguese descent) is a multi-dimensional art. Their literature appeared as early as the 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, a group of well-known writers appeared:

  • - Anthology "Lonely Road", (TancareiraBela),(Tancareira Pensativa)(Canc?oDe Tancareira) - Leanel Alves.
  • (),? - Anthology "Blessed garden, Macau" - Jose dos Santos Ferreira.
  • ? - Short fiction: "The Gown" written by Deolinda de Conceição[9]
  • ? - Long fiction: "Love and small toes" & "The Bewitching Braid" written by Henrique de Senna Fernandes[10]
  • - Anthology "Four seasons in one day" - Carlos Marreiros[11]
  • Other:
    • "Chinese Urheen - " Camilo Pessanha () 1867-1926
    • "Collection of Cathedral of Saint Paul -" WuLi ( o ) 1632-1718
    • Renowned playwright Tang Xianzu[12] ( o 1550-1616). His works covered "XiangAo Meets Jia Hu" - "Listens to Xiangshan - Translator" one, "Listens to Xiangshan - Translator" two - 1, 2 ?, , "South Haijiang" - and so on. These works mainly reflected and depicted Macau's local scenery at that time (late Ming dynasty), the human sentiment and international trade.
    • "The Chart of Maritime Countries - ", "Listens to the Dulcimer & Song playing by a foreign lady in the Aomen Garden - " written by WeiYuan ( o 1794-1857), displayed his personal feeling and understanding of classical music.

Cantonese Opera

Cantonese Opera[13] is quite popular, especially among elderly residents. In 2003, the Cultural Institute of the Macau S.A.R Government, in collaboration with the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Hong Kong SAR, organized the exhibition "Fong Yim Fun - The Life and Work of a Cantonese Opera Artiste".[14] As a well-known actress and opera artiste in Canton, Hong Kong and Macau, Fong Yim Fun performed in more than 150 operas and films. Part of her works was exhibited in the Museum of Macau at that time.


The Plaza of Cultural Centre

The Macao Cultural Centre was established in 1999, for the purpose of offering unique venues for artistic events, international conferences and exhibitions, enhancing cultural exchange, and helping to expand culture horizons among Macau residents. Hundreds of programs and events take place there almost every day--e.g., martial arts performances, Chinese traditional music, foreign music, varies types of dancing, etc.

The Macau Ricci Institute is a recent foundation of the Jesuits in Macau. Its aim is to continue the process of friendly encounters between Chinese and Western cultures and traditions, which was begun by Matteo Ricci 1552-1610 many years ago.[15]

See also


  1. ^ Instituto Para Os Assuntos Civicos E Minicipais (IACM) (2013-10-11). "16º Festival da Lusofonia". Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved .
  2. ^ "Macau TDM". Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ "macau.xmas.2005". Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ "17th Macau International Music Festival". Instituto Cultural do Governo da R.A.E. de Macau. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved .
  7. ^ "20th Macau International Music Festival - Traveloscopy". Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ "HUSH!! Full Band 2013". Retrieved .
  9. ^ "Introduction". Retrieved 2018.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-05-12. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2001-05-22. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-01-08. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "The Macau Ricci Institute - Macau Ricci Institute Studies".

External links

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Music Scenes