Macau is an autonomous territory within China. A Portuguese colony until 1999, Macau has a diverse culture firmly rooted in Cantonese culture, with a mix of influences from East Asia and Western Europe. Macau is known for being the largest gambling center in the world.

A sign in both Chinese and Portuguese in Macau - "主教座堂辦公室" (in Chinese) and "Cartório da Sé" (in Portuguese), which means "Office of the Cathedral."

People and languages

The two official languages of Macau are Chinese and Portuguese, although the latter is only spoken by a small minority. English is also widely spoken.

In 2018 Reuters stated "there are signs that Chinese is being prioritized in government."[1]

The Macanese language, generally known as Patuá, is a distinctive creole that is still spoken by several dozen members of the Macanese people, an ethnic group of mixed Asian and Portuguese ancestry that accounts for a small percentage of Macau's population.

Signs in Macau are displayed in both Traditional Chinese and Portuguese. In contrast to mainland China, Macau—along with Hong Kong and Taiwan—generally does not use Simplified Chinese characters.

Among the main migrants of the country are skilled workers from the Philippines, hence Tagalog is one of the most-heard foreign languages.

Cultural identity

The worldwide popularity of Cantonese food and Chinese martial arts (kung fu or wu shu) has made them popular in Portugal as well.

In 1998, the first Festival da Lusofonia took place in Macau, a festival of Portuguese-speaking communities. In November 2013, the 16th edition of the festival took place over the duration of two and a half days with musical activities, kids programmes, traditional Portuguese games and food from Portuguese-speaking countries' cuisines.[2]

Mass media

Main article: Communications in Macau

Most of the pop music that can be heard on the channel TDM Teledifusão de Macau (澳廣視)[3] is imported from Hong Kong or overseas (mainly Japan). However, more and more local songs are being recorded by locals. Some Brazilian TV stations are also broadcast in Macau.


Main article: Macanese cuisine

Macanese cuisine is a blend of southern Chinese (especially Cantonese cuisine) and Portuguese cuisines, with significant influences from Southeast Asia and the Lusophone world. The most famous snack is the Portuguese-style egg tart. It is widely popular in Southeast Asia, especially in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The most famous Macanese food is galinha à portuguesa, which is served in numerous varieties in Macau restaurants.

In 2018 Reuters stated that the cuisine was one of the few remaining Portuguese influences in Macau.[1]


Main article: Religion of Macau

The primary religion is Buddhism. Roman Catholicism has considerable influence in education and social welfare in Macau. However, adherents only count for about six percent of the population. Protestantism is spreading quickly, especially among the younger demographic groups.


Dom Pedro V theatre


See also the categories Films shot in Macau and Films set in Macau

A few independent films have been produced since the late 1990s. Recent Macau film productions include:


The Macau International Music Festival is conducted by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macau SAR Government every autumn.[9] The 20th anniversary of the MIMF was celebrated in 2007 with performances of Jazz, classical music, electronica, Chinese folk-pop, rock and Fado.[10]

Other Lusophone music types popular in Macao are samba, bossa nova, and kizomba.[11]

In 2005, the Hush!! Full Band Festival got established, a government-sponsored modern music festival featuring pop rock and hard rock bands from all over Asia with a focus on Macau bands. The festival is free of charge and it's in its 9th edition in 2013.[12]


Robert Ho Tung library in Macau.

The literature of Macanese (i.e. those with Portuguese descent) is a multi-dimensional art. Their literature appeared as early as the 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, a group of well-known writers appeared:

Cantonese opera

Main article: Cantonese opera

Cantonese opera[17] is quite popular, especially among elderly residents. In 2003, the Cultural Institute of the Macau S.A.R Government, in collaboration with the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Hong Kong SAR, organized the exhibition "Fong Yim Fun – The Life and Work of a Cantonese Opera Artiste".[18] As a well-known actress and opera artiste in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, Fong Yim Fun performed in more than 150 operas and films. Part of her works was exhibited in the Museum of Macau at that time.


The Plaza of Cultural Centre
Macao Cultural Centre

The Macao Cultural Centre was established in 1999, for the purpose of offering unique venues for artistic events, international conferences and exhibitions, enhancing cultural exchange, and helping to expand culture horizons among Macau residents. Hundreds of programs and events take place there almost every day—e.g., martial arts performances, European traditional music, Chinese traditional music, foreign music, varies types of dancing, etc.

The Macau Ricci Institute is a recent foundation of the Jesuits in Macau. Its aim is to continue the process of friendly encounters between Chinese and European cultures and traditions, which was begun by Matteo Ricci 1552–1610 many years ago.[19]

See also


  1. ^ a b "In Macau, Portuguese elites feel squeezed out by Chinese influence". Reuters. 2018-10-05. Retrieved 2021-02-12.
  2. ^ Instituto Para Os Assuntos Civicos E Minicipais (IACM) (2013-10-11). "16º Festival da Lusofonia". Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  3. ^ "Macau TDM". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  4. ^ "macau.xmas.2005". Archived from the original on 27 May 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Home". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Final Results Vote 2022". Retrieved 14 September 2022.
  7. ^ "Greatest Indie Film Nominee" (PDF). Retrieved 28 April 2023.
  8. ^ "BCT Benevento Cinema E Televisione Schedule" (PDF). Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  9. ^ "17th Macau International Music Festival". Instituto Cultural do Governo da R.A.E. de Macau. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-06-01.
  10. ^ "20th MACAU INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-06-01.
  11. ^ "20th Macau International Music Festival - Traveloscopy". Archived from the original on 30 January 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  12. ^ "HUSH!! Full Band 馬拉松搖滾音樂祭2013". Retrieved 2013-10-28.
  13. ^ "Introduction". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2006-08-28.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Carlos Marreiros". Dinastia Macau (in Portuguese). Imprensa Oficial. Archived from the original on 2006-05-12. Retrieved 2006-08-28.
  16. ^ "Tang Xianzu". Archived from the original on 2001-05-22. Retrieved 2005-07-24.
  17. ^ "Cantonese Opera to be proposed for World Heritage", Macau Heritage Net, 2002-11-21, archived from the original on 2004-10-27
  18. ^ "Fong Yim Fun - The Life and Work of a Cantonese Opera Artiste". Museum of Macau. Archived from the original on 2006-01-08. Retrieved 2006-08-28.
  19. ^ "The Macau Ricci Institute - Macau Ricci Institute Studies". Archived from the original on 2005-10-27.