Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Seak Kam Tong Celebrations






    Introduction:

    The Seak Kam Tong Celebrations take place on the anniversary of this deity, which is celebrated in Macao on the 7th day of the first lunar month, being one of the most important moments linked to the beliefs and customs of Seak Kam Tong (stone tablet). The original function of this type of stone tablets that were placed at the beginning of lanes and streets, is connected with the intention to suppress bad omens, nowadays serving to ward off evil spirits and  prevent ill fortune, tragedies or any other type of adversities, thereby safeguarding the positive energy of households. Seak Kam Tong is materialized in many forms, with the form of stone tablets with writings being the most common, as commonly seen on local streets, lanes and public spaces of Macao. The Seak Kam Tong Hang Toi Temple in the San Kio district is the largest in scale. Under the reign of Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty, residents of the old San Kio village near Lin Kai (Lotus Stream) decided to build a temple in honor of Seak Kam Tong, at the end of the bridge over Lin Kai and received support from a businessman called Lou Wa Sio. The temple was dedicated to Seak Kam Tong to pray for the protection of the residents of the San Kio district. Nowadays, the Seak Kam Tong Celebrations remain a popular tradition that counts on the active participation of residents and business owners of the San Kio district.

     

    Conservation Status:

    In the past, the Seak Kam Tong Celebrations were held in the Seak Kam Tong Hang Toi Temple, in the San Kio district, being considered as a very important event, with residents of the district going there to burn incense, joss paper, and to make offerings, such as roasted piglet and other food tributes in gratitude for their safety. Other activities include fairs held in front of the temple and the so-called Piu Sik parade, with the statue of Seak Kam Tong being carried through the San Kio district as a practice to pray for the safety and health of the residents of the district. However, with the passage of time, rituals of the Seak Kam Tong Celebrations have been simplified.

     

    Heritage Value:

    The Seak Kam Tong Celebrations are the highlight of the belief and customs of Seak Kam Tong in Macao. The values of this traditions are connected with the respect of the Chinese people for nature and their spiritual pursuit of a better future for everyone. These celebrations are also representative of the transmission and continuity of traditional Chinese culture in Macao. The customs reflect values that are also significant for the study of local folk culture.


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