Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Kuan Tai Celebrations



    Introduction:

    Kuan Tai Celebrations are a popular folk custom of Macao that integrates particular local characteristics. Regarded as a deity in Taoism because of his righteousness and bravery, Kuan Tai (Guan Yu) is widely revered by the local Chinese community as the patron deity of professional industries. There are several temples dedicated to Kuan Tai in Macao, with a large number of devotees. The Kuan Tai Celebrations are held every year on the 24th day of the sixth lunar month, when temples and altars in his honor perform rituals such as incense burning and worshipping, noting that the temples dedicated mainly to Kuan Tai also organize festive activities that are typical of this occasion.

     

    Conservation Status:

    Temples in Macao that are dedicated to the worship of Kuan Tai include the Sam Kai Vui Kun (Kuan Tai Temple), the Mou Tai Temple, and the Kuan Tai Temple in Taipa. There are many shops and residences that have statues of Kuan Tai for respective veneration. In ancient times, the worship of Kuan Tai was a national event, with large-scale ceremonies of great festivity. At present, Kuan Tai Celebrations have been simplified, but they continue to be very festive occasions that include, among other activities, lion dances, parades and the so-called “Choy Cheng” (plucking the greens” performances.

     

    Heritage Value:

    Kuan Tai Celebrations are one of the most socially significant festive events of Macao that are part of the traditional folk activities of local residents. As an important form of expression of the beliefs in Kuan Tai, these traditions are also a sign about the resilience and continuity of traditional Chinese culture in Macao. These customs also have typical local characteristics and they are therefore significant for the study of local folk culture.


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