Culture of Macau

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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 - "Zhu Jiao Zuo Tang Ban Gong Shi " (in Chinese) and "Cartorio da Se" (in Portuguese), which means "Office of the Cathedral." Macau-Chinese&Portuguese.jpg
A sign in both Chinese and Portuguese in Macau - "主教座堂辦公室" (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 (澳廣視) [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 Teatro Don Pedro V, Macao, 2013-08-08, DD 01.jpg
Dom Pedro V theatre


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


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. Biblioteca Robert Ho Tung, Macao, 2013-08-08, DD 01.jpg
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:

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 Praca do Centro Cultural.JPG
The Plaza of Cultural Centre
Macao Cultural Centre Macao Cultural Center 2011.JPG
Macao 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

Related Research Articles

The Macanese people are an East Asian ethnic group that originated in Macau in the 16th century, consisting of people of predominantly mixed Cantonese and Portuguese as well as Malay, Japanese, English, Sinhalese, and Indian ancestry.

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The culture of Hong Kong, or Hongkongers culture, can best be described as a foundation that began with Lingnan's Cantonese culture and, to a much lesser extent, non-Cantonese branches of Han Chinese cultures. It later became influenced by British culture due to Britain's colonialism and subsequent obtention of the land, resulting in a culture characterised by both Cantonese-ness and British-ness. Moreover, Hong Kong also has indigenous people, whose cultures have been absorbed into modern day Hong Kong culture. As a result, after the 1997 transfer of sovereignty to the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong has continued to develop an identity of its own.

Cantonese opera Chinese opera tradition originating in Guangdong province

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Macanese Patois

Macanese patois, known as patuá to its speakers, is a Portuguese-based creole language with a substrate from Cantonese, Malay and Sinhala, which was originally spoken by the Macanese community of the Portuguese colony of Macau. It is now spoken by a few families in Macau and in the Macanese diaspora.

Macau cuisine consists of a mosaic of Cantonese and Portuguese cuisines, and fusion cuisine with significant influences from Southeast Asia and the Lusophone world. Although many routinely consumed dishes in Macau belong to a subclass (Heungshan) of Cantonese cuisine, a reowned distinct cuisine called Macanese cuisine is unique to Macau. Many unique Macanese dishes resulted from the spice blends that the wives of Portuguese sailors used in an attempt to replicate European dishes. Besides local Chinese ingredients, ingredients and seasonings of Macanese dishes also include those from Europe, Latin America, Africa, India and Southeast Asia. Genuine Portuguese and Spanish cuisine can also be found in Macau. Common cooking techniques include baking, grilling and roasting. The former, seldom seen in other styles of Chinese cooking, exemplifies the eclectic nature of Macanese cooking. Macau is renowned for its flavour-blending culture, and modern Macanese cuisine may be considered a type of fusion cuisine.

Egg tart Type of custard tart

The egg tart is a kind of custard tart found in Cantonese cuisine deriving from the English custard tart and Portuguese pastel de nata. The dish consists of an outer pastry crust filled with egg custard. Egg tarts are often served at dim sum restaurants and cha chaan tengs.

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Lingnan culture, or Cantonese culture, refers to the regional Chinese culture of the region of Lingnan: twin provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi, the names of which mean "eastern expanse" and "western expanse" respectively.

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The Cantonese people or Yue people, are a Yue-speaking Han Chinese sub-group originating from or residing in the provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi, in Southern Mainland China. Although more accurately, "Cantonese" refers only to the people from Guangzhou and its satellite cities and towns and/or native speakers of Standard Cantonese, rather than simply and generally referring to the people of the Liangguang region.

Yam Kim-fai

Yam Kim-fai, also known as Ren Jianhui was a renowned Cantonese opera actress in China and Hong Kong.

Articles related to Macau include:

Women in Macau

Women in Macau, as described by Candice Chio Ngan Ieng, president of the Macau Women's General Association (AGMM), in 2010 are currently defining themselves as capable and irreplaceable powers to Macau's modern-day civilization.

Leung Ping-kwan

Leung Ping-kwan, whose pen name was Yesi, was a Hong Kong poet, novelist, essayist, translator, teacher, and scholar who received the Hong Kong Medal of Honor (MH) and was an important long-time cultural figure in Hong Kong.

The Macau Government Cantonese Romanization refers to the mostly consistent system for romanizing Cantonese as employed by the Government of Macau and other non-governmental organizations based in Macau. The system has been employed by the Macau Government since the Portuguese colonial period and continues to be used after the 1999 handover of the territory. Similarly to its counterpart romanization system in Hong Kong, the method is not completely standardized and thus is not taught in schools, but rather employed by government agencies to accurately display the correct pronunciation of Cantonese in public signage and official usage.

Macau people are people who originate from or live in Macau.

Lin Fong Sports Centre Sports venue in Macau

Lin Fong Sports Centre is a sports complex co-existing with Macau Canidrome. The sports centre incorporated a sports field, swimming pools, and a gymnasium. The natural grass turf is used mostly for football matches.

Macau independence

Macau independence is the proposition that supports independence of Macau from the People's Republic of China. Despite receiving little attention within Macau, the issue was raised in the Legislative Council following the Hong Kong Legislative Council oath-taking controversy. In 2017, several Chinese media outlets warned against discussion of Macau independence, fearing that speculation would lead to further action.

Choi Chan In is a Macanese footballer who currently works a fitness coach for Hong Kong Premier League club Lee Man. He also plays for the Macau national football team.

Manner (company)

Manner Culture Enterprises Limited is a Macau entertainment company. The company produces comedic videos in Cantonese that can be between a few seconds to a few minutes. It has a dozen performing artists under management.


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