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Macao Light Festival 2019 brilliantly illuminates 20 years of Macao SAR

Throughout December, the Macao Light Festival 2019 painted the city with colour and motion, delighting visitors and residents alike. This year’s festival, “Explore the Light”, included productions on the development of Macao in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region.

The festival encompassed the nightly illumination of light installations, interactive games and projection mapping shows created by teams of artists respectively from Spain, Portugal, Japan and Shenzhen, and by two teams from Macao.

Thousands of spectators took to the streets from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly throughout December to enjoy the festival through four designated routes covering a total of 15 different locations across the city. For the first time in its five-year history, the event reached into the northern district, with a view to drawing visitors into a part of Macao that they might not otherwise explore.

The festival was an extravaganza of projection mapping shows, light installations, interactive games and more. Residents and visitors alike appreciated the light artistry while sharing their dazzling journey with selfies and check-in opportunities. In each of the four designated routes, the glittering adventures echoed with stories and memories of the people of Macao.

“Light of Age” in the northern district spoke to the beauty of the eight planets of the solar system via the “Eight Planets” installation, had participants on a spaceship into the future in “Space Travel”, and offered a walk through the decades with the mapping show “Memory of Macau Canidrome” at Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome.

The second route, “Light of Memory”, traversed central areas in St Lazarus’ Parish, including several light installations around the Ruins of St. Paul’s. Highlights included the “Swinging Cascade” and “AR Magic Sandbox” at Largo do Pagode do Bazar, and “Homey Lamp” at Calçada da Igreja de S. Lázaro.

“Light of Colours” in Nam Van and Sai Van Districts covered Anim’Arte Nam Van, Nam Van Lake Nautical Centre, the white canopy at Nam Van as well as St Joseph’s Seminary Church. The route featured a cascade projection titled “Floating Wonder”, the mega light installation “Glistening Lotus”, and a 12-metre’high “MAK MAK” balloon at Anim’Arte Nam Van. Visitors could also enjoy a piano performance paired with light installation called “Flow of Melody”.

An interactive light installation beneath the white canopy at Nam Van allowed spectators with a special mobile phone app to send the Macao SAR messages of congratulation on its reaching its 20th anniversary, and have the messages displayed on a huge screen.

The fourth route was “Light of Harmony” at Our Lady of Carmel Parish, covering the Taipa Houses, Largo dos Bombeiros and the square in front of Pak Tai Temple. It included light installation “Tide of Love” at the Taipa Houses. There was the site of another projection show, “Carnival”, showing the cultural and culinary delights of Portugal, underlining the dynamic of Macao as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. 

A sparkling celebration worthy of an anniversary

Among the mapping spectacles staged by the local and overseas artists, “The Time of Joy”, presented by a  Macao team at the Ruins of St. Paul’s, was one of the shows that closed the curtain of the festival. 

Another local production staged at the end of the festival – “Let’s ‘20’ Together!” – celebrated the establishment of the Macao SAR through diverse and colourful projections at St. Joseph’s Seminary Church – the first time this monument was part of the festival. 

The teams from Spain, Portugal, Japan and Shenzhen, also staged mapping shows themed after the celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Macao SAR earlier in the festival in different time periods, at the Ruins of St. Paul’s and at St. Joseph’s Seminary Church. In addition, two other locally-produced mapping shows titled “Memory of Macau Canidrome” and “Carnival” were staged at Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome and Largo dos Bombeiros respectively throughout the entire period of the festival.

The Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) arranges the Macao Light Festival every year. MGTO Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes addressed the opening ceremony: “Since its inception in 2015, the Macao Light Festival has dazzled the city in different designs, narrating Macao’s stories through mesmerising encounters between light artistry and audiences.”

Director Senna Fernandes added that in terms of route design, the event seeks to channel visitor flows into different local districts to bring greater economic benefits to different businesses and foster community tourism development.