Dazzling celebrations to usher in the Year of the Dragon
Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) and the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) will jointly organize celebratory activities on the first day of Lunar New Year (Jan 23) at the Ruins of St. Paul's and Senado Square to mark the spring festival. MGTO will host for the first time a fireworks display on the first day of Lunar New Year to add a festive atmosphere to the city.
Visitor arrivals to Macau surpassed 28 million last year, registering an increase of 12.2% over 2010. Close to 25 million visitors were from the Greater China region, with a growth of 13.5% while the number of international visitors rose by 2.2%. As Lunar New Year is a peak season for visitors from the Mainland and nearby region to celebrate this important festival in Macau and many international visitors also choose to experience traditional celebrations here, MGTO and IACM take this opportunity to express New Year greetings to residents and hospitality to visitors.
On the first morning of Lunar New Year, joined by representatives of the travel trade, Director of MGTO João Manuel Costa Antunes, President of IACM, Raymond Tam, Deputy Directors of MGTO Helena Fernandes and Manuel Pires will host the eye-dotting ceremony of the golden dragon and lions at the Ruins of St. Paul's and light firecrackers at Senado Square to mark the celebrations. Guests will then team up with the God of Fortune to greet the public and distribute "Lai Si" and souvenirs to residents and visitors. "Lai Si" distributed by the God of Fortune bestow good luck and fortune for the Year of the Dragon. Performance by dance troupe from the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region will add colors to the joy.
A 238-meter long golden dragon will lead a parade through major tourist spots. The vibrant dragon and lion dances signal Macau to be as energetic and spirited as these noble creatures in the Year of the Dragon. Dragon symbolizes dignity and success and these characteristics encourage Macau's residents to strive for accomplishment and work hand in hand for the betterment of Macau.
In keeping with tradition, lucky "Lai Si" containing phrase of blessing will be distributed at MGTO counters during Lunar New Year while stock lasts.
A splendid fireworks display organized by MGTO will light up the sky of Macau to usher in the Year of the Dragon. From 9pm on the first day of the Lunar New Year, about 20,000 pyrotechnic shells will be fired from 4 barges at the sea area in front of the Macau Tower and the Kun Iam Ecumenical Centre for around 30 minutes. The display, with the theme "Blessing", will comprise eight different scenes: Prosperity, Happiness, Harmony, Hope, Bright Future, Solidarity and Happy Reunion.
MGTO will install sound systems at six locations including Avenida Panorâmica do Lago Nam Van, Macau Tower Street seaside, open area between Avenida de Sagres and the Bridge of Nobre de Carvalho, Ave. Dr Sun Yat Sen, Kun Iam Ecumenical Centre, Avenida dos Jardins do Oceano and Estrada Nordeste da Taipa so that the public can enjoy synchronized music to the spectacular displays.
The Lunar New Year celebrations are held on the first and second day of the Lunar New Year. Details of the activities are available on the website of MGTO http://www.macautourism.gov.mo
During Lunar New Year, MGTO's "Tourism Hotline 2833 3000" maintains its 24-hour operator service to answer tourists' enquiries.