Religion in Macau - Places of Worship and Festivities

Buddhism is the predominant religion in Macau but is not a state religion. The main religions of Macau are Buddhism, Roman Catholicism and Islam. A blanket term of Chinese folk religion is used for the minority religions that are Taoism and Confucianism. Confucianism and Taoism later tied with Buddhism constitutes the three teachings in Chinese culture.

Distribution of religion in Macau
Folk religions - 58.9%
Buddhism - 17.3%
Christianity - 7.2%
Islam - 0.2%
Other beliefs - 1% practising
Non-religious - 15.4%

Buddhism

A Buddhist temple
A Buddhist Temple
According to statistics, about 80% of the population in Macau, practise Buddhism. Buddhism has greatly influenced the culture and traditions of the residents of Macau. There are some influential Buddhist groups in Macau too, some of the popular ones being Macau Buddhism Society and Macau Buddhism Union. There are several Buddhist temples in Macau such as the Guanyin Temple and others, that are popular tourist spots too. Buddhist education, organizations and publications also testify to the strength of Buddhist practices in the region. A good time to visit Macau is the month of May when the followers of Buddhism celebrate the feast of Buddha with great fervour performing ceremonies and the grand show on the streets.

Buddhist Temples in Macau :
  • Kun Iam Temple
  • A-Ma Temple
  • Puji Temple
  • Macau Tin Hau Temple
  • Lin Fung Temple

Roman Catholicism

A Roman Catholic Church in Macau
A Roman Catholic Church in Macau
Roman Catholicism has been a prominent religion in Macau ever since it was introduced in the 16th to 18th century period. Today, it is practised by 8% of the religious population. Roman Catholic Diocese of Macau which was founded in Macau is revered as one of the earliest Catholic religious centres in the Far East. It is a must-visit for those travelling to Macau to get to know about how Roman Catholicism has influenced social work and education among people and the beauty that is housed in the six parishes of the church.

Catholic Churches in Macau
  • St Lazarus Parish
  • St Lawrence Parish
  • St Anthony Parish

Shenism

Shenism
Source
Shenism is the Chinese folk religion, the followers of which worship Shen or the generative powers of nature as well as the ancestors and progenitors of families who brought about a significant impact in the history of Chinese civilization. One of the most worshipped deities in Macau is Mazu, which also contributes to the name of the region 'Macau', a Portuguese version of the local name of Mazu.

Taoism

A Taoist Temple in Macau
A Taoist Temple in Macau
Taoism, being a religious tradition of Chinese origin, has had a lot of influence on Chinese traditions ever since its inception. The religion emphasizes living in harmony with everything that exists. As much as Taoism has created a marked impact on Chinese culture, it has been influenced by Chinese culture too. There are scattered populations of Taoist followers in Macau. There are notable Taoist temples in Macau and an annual Taoist festival as well.

Taoist Temples in Macau
  • Na Tcha Temple
  • Sam Kai Vui Kun
  • Tam Kung Temple
Macau Taoist Festival
This festival occurs annually and highlights the city's Taoist community showcasing their ritual music, traditional martial art, Taoist artefacts, paintings, calligraphy, photography, altars and exhibitions.

Confucianism

Confucianism
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A religion in Macau originating in ancient China, Confucianism is a system of thought and behaviour prevalent among a decent population of Chinese mass who believe in Confucian values and morality that lays down a rational approach of governing one's life. There is a Macau Confucian Association as well, which promotes the principles of Confucianism far and wide in various ways. They preach the same in school and have started a small school in Macau too. The birthday of Confucius is also celebrated with a grand ceremony in those schools on 27th of August and students are invited to participate in it.

Confucianism places of worship in Macau
Ai Ma Temple: The temple has pavilions dedicated to worship of various faiths in a single complex and Taoism is one of them. There is an exemplary section of altars and prayers for believers of Taoism.

Islam

A mosque in Macau
A Mosque in Macau
Islam is a minority religion in Macau with only about 10000 Muslims who call themselves The Macau Islamic Society. The Muslim population in Macau has grown folds over the years. Macau has one mosque and one Muslim cemetery, both in the same area.

Mosques in Macau

Macau Mosque: Macau Mosque is the only mosque in Macau, located at 4 Ramal Dos Moros in Our Lady of Fatima Parish. It was built in the 1980s in Portuguese ruled Macau by the Muslim people.

Festivals
Eid al-Adha is celebrated with fervour by the Muslim community of Macau. The celebrations are marked with prayers and animal slaughter for the poor and needy.
Eid al-Fitr, which is the major festival of Muslims, is celebrated with great pomp and show at the mosque.

Bahá'í

The Bahá'í faith has touched a good amount of the Macau population, and today there is a Local Spiritual Assembly and National Spiritual Assembly with over 400 people, who are known as the Macau Bahá'í Community. They are massively engaged in community building activities in Macau and conducting training and education programmes for all age groups to encourage people to lead a spiritual life, while also serving the society.

Non-Religious Community of Macau

About 15.4% of people in Macau do have any religious affiliation and do not practise any faith.

Non-Religious Community of Macau
Source

The culture and traditions of the people in Macau are greatly impacted by Buddhism, Roman Catholicism and folk religion in Macau. Even with such diversity in religious beliefs, Macau is rightly called the City of Holy names and is a cohesion of cultures.

This post was published by CR Anjali

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