Run your finger through the list of annual festivals, and you soon realise Macau likes to party. From New Year until December 31, the former Portuguese enclave hosts an array of colourful and thrilling events to reflect its fascinating east-meets-west heritage. The long-running annual Macau Grand Prix will have you revved up.
April: A-Ma Festival
Each year, homage is paid to Macau's most popular deity, the Goddess of Seafarers. Word has it the maiden A-Ma ordered the elements to calm down when a storm threatened a boat. It’s a day when seafarers and their families visit the ancient temple in the Inner Harbour.
May: Feast of the Drunken Dragon
Beginning at the Kuan Tai Temple is a festival, where men perform a drunken dance with wooden head and tail of a dragon. They will then parade through the streets to the Inner Harbour in honour of man who mythically gained Dutch courage in fighting an evil dragon.
June: Dragon Boat Festival
Prepare for few splashes at the annual Dragon Boat Festival on Nam Van Lake. Local and international teams participate in men’s and women’s divisions, making the medal haul wide in what has become one of the international sporting community’s favourite outdoor parties.
September: Mid-Autumn Festival
Like clockwork, on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, Macau plays host to the annual Mid-Autumn Festival, the main streets are awash with decorative and bright lanterns. The event is one of the most-celebrated festivals in Chinese culture, time for family reunions.
September: International Fireworks Display Contest
The annual Macau International Fireworks Display Contest takes place on the Macau Tower shorefront each weekend from mid-September to early October. More than 100 international teams compete, visitors enjoying a holiday illuminated by spectacular evening displays.
October: Macau International Music Festival
Music to the ears is the Macau International Music Festival (Oct and Nov) which attracts internationally renowned artists from around the world. The program typically features opera, orchestral and chamber music with the UNESCO World Heritage sites as inspiring settings.
November: Macau Grand Prix
The most internationally prestigious event on the local calendar, the Macau Grand Prix pits the best motorcycle, WTCC and Formula 3 racers in the world against each other and the clock in dedicated competitions along the narrow, twisting Guia street circuit of Macau city.
December: Macau International Marathon
This international marathon attracts local and international long distance runners along a course which encompasses the Peninsula, Taipa and Coloane. There’s also a Half-Marathon and Mini-Marathon for amateurs seeking to test their endurance.
December: Macau Light Festival
Held at the beginning of December, this is Macau’s version of Sydney’s VIVID, the streets, lanes, gardens and UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites coming to life under a kaleidoscope of colourful lights and laser 3D projections.
December: The Parade through Macau, Latin City
Colourfully presented on December 20 to mark the anniversary of Macau’s handover to China is a parade that involves performing groups from around the world as well as hundreds of talented local artists. Prepare for much song and dance.