5 Interesting Facts about the culture of Macau
Macau’s population is 95% Chinese, primarily Cantonese and some Hakka, both from nearby Guangdong Province. The remainder are of Portuguese or mixed Chinese-Portuguese ancestry. Some Japanese, including descendants of Japanese Catholics who were expelled by shoguns, also live in Macau.
Wedding ceremony in Macau divided into two types which are Portuguese, foreigner and some local people who believe in catholic or Christians. Macanese will have their wedding ceremony at church that follows western catholic style in the morning. Most of the population in Macau, follow the traditional Chinese wedding style. The bride and groom enter the nuptial chambers, they exchange nuptial cups and perform ceremonial bows. The rituals were also called “bowing to Heaven and Earth”, which were conducted to gain approval of the marriage from gods, divines, ancestors as well as from parents, older generations, relate and neighbours in the mortal world. After the bowing rituals, the couple would enter the bridal chamber, followed by the rituals like sitting on the bed, throwing happiness-embodying nuts and drinking the nuptial cups. After that, all the wedding guests, relatives and friends to the wedding will be invited to the couple’s wedding dinner at the restaurant or hotel to celebrate their Joy during night time.
Birthday custom of the new-born and elderly
The first important event for the newly born baby is the one-month celebration. In Macanese families, on the morning of the baby’s 30th day, sacrifices are offered to the gods so that the gods will protect the baby in his subsequent life. Ancestors are also virtually informed of the arrival of the new member in the family. According to the customs, relatives and friends receive gifts from the child’s parents. Types of gifts vary from place to place, but eggs dyed red are usually a must both in town and the countryside. Red eggs are chosen as gifts probably because they are the symbol of changing process of life and their round shape is the symbol of harmonious and happy life. They are made red because red color is a sign of happiness in Chinese culture. Besides eggs, food like cakes, chickens and hams are often used as gifts. As people do in the Spring Festival, gifts given are always in even number.
During the celebration, relatives and friends of the family will also return some presents. The presents include those which the child may use, like foods, daily materials, gold or silver wares. But the commonest are some money wrapped in a piece of red paper. Grandparents usually give their grandchild a gold or silver ware to show their deep love for the child. In the evening, the child’s parents give a rich feast at home or a restaurant to the guests at the celebration.
It is often the grownup sons and daughters who celebrate their elderly parents’ birthdays to show their respect for them and express their thanks for what they have done for their children. According to the traditional customs, the parents are offered foods with happy symbolic implications. On the birthday morning the father or mother will eat a bowl of long “long-life noodles” which symbolize a long life. Eggs are also among the best choices of food taken on the special occasion.
Funeral in Macau have two types which are the traditional Chinese funeral and western funeral style. Chinese funeral has several main traditions and have the most complicated details to follow. Meanwhile, for those who are catholic and Christians, they will do their prayer at church.
Qingming Festival, is one of the traditional Chinese festival on the first day of the fifth solar term of the traditional Chinese Lunisolar calendar. This is the day when the people visit the columbaria, groves or burial grounds to pray to their ancestor.
Chinese New Year in Macau is the city’s biggest and boldest annual celebration. Often, the evening preceding Chinese New Year’s Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “good fortune” or “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes. The biggest event of any Chinese New Year’s Eve is the Reunion Dinner, named as “Nian Ye Fan”. A dish consisting of special meats is served at the tables of Chinese families, as a main course for the dinner and offering for the New Year. For the first day, some families may invite a lion dance troupe as a symbolic ritual to usher in the Chinese New Year as well as to evict bad spirits from the premises. Members of the family who are married also give red envelopes containing cash known as lai see (Cantonese dialect) or angpow (Hokkien dialect/Fujian), or “Hongpau” (Mandarin), a form of blessings and to suppress the aging and challenges associated with the coming year, to junior members of the family, mostly children and teenagers. Business managers also give bonuses through red packets to employees for good luck, smooth-sailing, good health and wealth. While fireworks and firecrackers are traditionally very popular.
Cuisine in Macau
Macanese cuisine is unique to Macau, and consists of a blend of southern Chinese and Portuguese cuisine, with significant influences from southeast Asia and the Lusophony world. There are varies of food choices in Macau which was already exists more than 600 restaurants. Some of the famous Portuguese food would be prawn tatar, “cha cha” and butter cake.
Macau also has many boat dwellers; they belong to southern of China “the egg” community. They have their own unique life style, whole family is living in the boat and the boat is mobile. The boat dwellers are generally engaged in the fishing industry; their etiquette is totally different compare to the Macanese populations. Before world war II, his population was look down on the boat dwellers, therefore, they didn’t choose to married with the Macanese population on land. Their praying methods to the God and ancestor also different. After World War II, many boat dwellers move to land and stay, enters the factory to work, and live together with the Macanese on land.