Macao primed for festive fun in 2019
MACAO is gearing up for a busy yet fruitful 2019 with the calendar filled with a mix of festivals and events to commemorate the Asian centre’s 20th anniversary as a special administrative region (SAR) OF THE People’s Republic of China.
Much of the limelight will be on Macao’s billing as a member of the elite global list of UNESCO Creative Cities for Gastronomy.
After launching the Chinese New Year of the Pig celebrations (February 5-10) with a vibrant parade and equally spectacular display of fireworks, the former Portuguese territory and its 650,000 residents are preparing for a year-long program with plenty of signature and traditional festivals, and culinary events to whet the appetite.
Heading the tourism campaigns through 2019 is Macao’s lovable mascot, Mak Mak, the creation of young local Tou Chon Wai. Mak Mak is a black-faced spoonbill native to Macao, her headwear inspired by the historic Guia Lighthouse, once the highest point of the former Portuguese territory.
Among a host of events for 2019 are:
A-Ma Festival, where homage is paid to Macao’s most popular deity, the Goddess of Seafarers (April 27);
30th Macao Arts Festival, various locations (May 4 – June 2);
Procession of Our Lady of Fatima (May 13);
Macao International Dragon Boat Races and Festival (June 1,2 and 7);
19th Macao Lotus Flower Festival (June 3-16);
2019 Wushu Masters Challenge, martial arts contest (August 1-4);
Mid-Autumn Festival (September 13);
The 30th Macao Fireworks Display Contest, with additional day bringing together a record 12 countries (between September 7 and October 5);
33rd Macao International Music Festival, various locations (October 4 – November 3).
Following on last year’s success, Macao will once again host the prestigious Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants promotion (March 25-26) complete with dining experiences, lectures, a chefs’ feast and a ritzy gala awards ceremony.
Drawing on the theme of ‘Vital Ingredients’, the opening event at the Wynn Palace Cotai will see leading chefs from the region discuss ideas around sustainability, sourcing, over-consumption and related issues facing cooks, restaurateurs and diners.
From April 26-28, Macao will host its 7th Macao International Travel Industry Expo (MITE) at The Venetian Macao, this year’s exhibition seeing a further increase in the number of booths.
In late September, Macao will celebrate World Tourism Day with an array of colourful activities while, in October, it will host the Global Tourism Economy Forum.
Food for thought later in the year is the 19th Macau Food Festival, the overwhelming aroma of dishes enough to wake the taste buds as guests wandering between the lakeside street stalls from November 8-24.
Traditionally, December is a busy month and 2019 will be no exception when the city’s stages the 9th Macau Shopping Festival, the ever-appealing Macao Light Festival, the giant Macao International Parade and the 4th International Film Festival and Awards – Macao (IFFAM), complete with its red-carpet ceremonies and galaxies of star celebrities.
To wind up the eventful year, sports fans will be treated to action aplenty at the 66th Macau Grand Prix and the Macao International Marathon while lovers of fireworks will prepare for a colourful evening on December 20 to commemorate the 20th year since the establishment of the Macao Administrative Region.
Not forgetting the traditional New Year fireworks on December 31.
“There’s little doubt, Macao knows how to party,” said Helen Wong, general manager of the Macao Government Tourism Office (Australia and New Zealand). “The number of festivals and events on the calendar is overwhelming.
“Being recognised by UNESCO for its gastronomy is one of the countless highlights in a city which has always been renowned for having one of the world’s earliest forms of fusion food,” she said.
“The story of Macanese cuisine is just as enticing as the taste of the food itself.”