Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Va Kong Celebrations






    Introduction:

    Va Kong, also known as Wuxian Lingguan Dadi and Ma Tian Jun, is a deity in Taoism. The beliefs and customs of this deity are a long-standing tradition in Macao, where he is revered by local residents as a god of fire. The most relevant temple in Macao that is dedicated to this deity is the Lin Kai Temple, where grand celebrations are held every year on the 28th day of the ninth lunar month. Since Va Kong is the patron deity of the opera industry, traditional celebrations in Lin Kai Temple usually involve devotional Cantonese opera performances that are prepared to entertain both  the deity and the audience. Many famous Cantonese opera actors and actresses have been invited to perform for such occasions, including Ma Si Tsang, Hung Sin Nui and Leung Sing Bor.

     

    Conservation Status:

    Temples in Macao dedicated to Va Kong include the Lin Kai Temple, the Pak Tai Temple in Taipa and the Sam Seng Temple in Coloane. The large-scale annual celebrations are held in the Lin Kai Temple. During the Va Kong Celebrations, residents of the San Kio district perform rituals, such as incense burning and lion dances, also organizing devotional Cantonese opera performances for deities and temple fairs. Va Kong Celebrations are important festival activities that contribute towards unity among participants, being an occasion for fraternization among all.

    Heritage Value:

    Va Kong Celebrations are an important and representative traditional folk festival of Macao that is popular among local residents. The continuity of the beliefs and customs of Va Kuong is also relevant for the transmission of traditional Chinese folk culture of Macao. These customs and the local characteristic that they integrate are also of significant value for the study of local folk culture.


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