With almost 30 million visitors a year and a unique Portuguese-Chinese heritage, Macau has put itself firmly on the map as one of the most exciting destinations in the Far East. This year will be no exception with a series of significant anniversaries and events shining the spotlight on this Special Administrative Region of China throughout 2013, including the 25th anniversary of the Macau International Fireworks Display Contest later in the year - one of the biggest events of its kind in the world. But go this Spring and here are 3 must-see events to add to your itinerary:
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.