All the exciting festivals happening in Macao this season

Macao is preparing for the festive season in spectacular spirit this year with an exciting line-up of activities planned for the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year.

“This year’s festivals will carry special significance in that they will coincide with Macao’s 20th anniversary as a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China,” said Helen Wong, general manager of the Macao Government Tourism Office – Australia and New Zealand (MGTO). 

“Visitors can prepare for plenty of colour and excitement in coming weeks [with] much of the action outdoors and free,” she added. 

Here’s where you’ll find all the action:

19th Macao Food Festival

Running until 24 November, is the 19th Macao Food Festival – a colourful outdoor event where the air is filled with the aromas of food from across Asia, Europe and local delicacies. This year, the festival also took on a Japanese theme, with an area of the grounds set up to recreate Japan’s Hokkaido island.
With plenty of entertainment, games and beer competitions, this food fest is popular for its relaxed and welcoming atmosphere of street stalls, booths and tents.

Festivals in Macao. Annual food festival

Macao International Marathon

This international marathon on 1 December, first hosted by Macao in 1981, continues to attract large numbers of local and international long-distance runners. The full course marathon cuts across the Macao Peninsula before crossing the bridge to the islands of Taipa and Coloane. The half-marathon and mini-marathon are designed to attract not only professional athletes but amateurs seeking to test their endurance.

Macao Film Festival

The 4th International Film Festival and Awards: Macao (IFFAM), has been billed as the largest film festival to be staged in the historic Asian centre to date. This year it will run from 5-10 December and feature world-renowned film industry elite including director, producer and screenwriter Peter Ho-Sun Chan, multi-award-winning Welsh actor Tom Cullen, veteran film executive and producer Ellen R. Eliasoph, and Indonesian actor and producer Dian Sastrowardoyo. Included in the selection of international films up for an award is New Zealand comedy/drama Bellbird, directed by schoolteacher Hamish Bennett and Buoyancy by Australian award-winning writer/director Rodd Rathjen.

Macao International Parade

Originally named the ‘Parade through Macao, Latin City’, this giant free street event on 8 December – organised by the Cultural Affairs Bureau – provides local arts groups with a platform to express their creativity and perform alongside invited international talent groups. The parade aims to showcase the diverse and creative culture of Macao.

Festivals in Macao. Copyright MGTO. All rights reserved.

Macao Light Festival

Now into its 5th year, the Macao Light Festival – running from 1 – 31 December, has become a permanent feature on the December events calendar. During the festival, historic sites and parks are brought to life with colourful light projections, light installations and interactive games. The event aims to draw visitors to different districts of the city for an appreciation of Macao by night and to learn about the local culture and history in an innovative and artistic display.


20th Anniversary fireworks

In celebration of Macao’s 20th Anniversary as a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, there will be an additional firework display held on 20 December this year and followed by the annual New Year’s Eve firework display on 31 December.

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