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The A-Ma temple (Barra Temple, 媽閣廟) was one of our first sightseeing stops.  Macau has more history than HK.  And this temple apparently already existed before the city of Macau came into being.  According to Wikipedia:

Built in 1488, the temple is dedicated to Matsu, the goddess of seafarers and fishermen.

The name Macau is thought to be derived from the name of the temple. It is said that when the Portuguese sailors landed at the coast just outside the temple and asked the name of the place, the natives replied “媽閣” (pronounced “Maa1 Gok3”). The Portuguese then named the peninsula “Macao”. … It is also one of the first scenes photographed in China.

The temple was quite busy as it was near the New Year.  A teenage girl was asking her fortunes by shaking a little cup with the bamboo sticks, each with a fortune. Obviously, she does not know how to do it and scattered the entire cup of sticks on the floor.  We saw a few men came into the temple with a roasted suckling pig, burned a bunch of incense each, said their prayers in front of the statue, and let off a hugh bundle of firecrackers.

Roasted suckling pig on the alter.

The temple consists of several pavillions linked by steps.  These men must be seafarers as they were hardcore with their ceremonies.  They carried the suckling pig from the bottom entrance all the way up to the top pavilion, bought more incense and solemnly made their wishes and asked for blessings in front of another set of statues.  The ladies selling incense were doing brisk business.

Giant lotus candles costing HK$888 and $1388 (about US$110 and $180).

“Quiet, solemn, retreat”, “Dirty matters – do not approach”


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