Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Opening of Kun Iam’s Treasury


    The Opening of Kun Iam’s Treasury is a local folk custom connected with the worship of Kun Iam, to pray for her blessing and protection. Noting that Kun Iam is connected with the deity in Buddhism, and the introduction of this religion into the Xiangshan County, to which Macau was once belonged, can be traced back to the Zen Master Zhenjiao, between 860 and 872, during the Emperor Xiangtong's reign of the Tang dynasty. The Pou Chai Temple was the first Buddhist temple built in Macao at the end of the Ming Dynasty. The worship of Kun Iam is a long-established tradition in Macao and the Opening of Kun Iam’s Treasury is observed on the 26th day of the first lunar month, being an important tradition for the local Chinese community, when devotees go to the temples dedicated toKun Iam to make wishes of fortune and good luck, at the time when it’s believed that the treasury of the temple is open for borrowing.


    Conservation Status:

    The temples that are presently connected with this tradition in Macao include the Buddhist temples Pou Chai Temple, the Kun Iam Temple (Kun Iam Tchai) and the Kong Tac Lam Temple, noting that many people also worship Kun Iam in their own houses. The Opening of Kun Iam’s Treasury is a grand occasion with a lot of people visiting the temples to perform rituals, in a very lively atmosphere.


    Heritage Value:

    Buddhism is a religion that has a long-standing tradition in Macao, where it assumed characteristics that are also common with Lingnan region and influenced the local folk customs. Beliefs have endured for a long time, being passed down from generation to generation, noting that the Opening of Kun Iam’s Treasury is one of the most significant traditions for the study of local folk culture.

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