Macao ushers in Year of Tiger with celebrations in order, epidemic on mind

As the Lunar Year of the Tiger draws near, China's Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) has put up tiger-themed decorations and events aiming to lighten up the festive mood.

As the Lunar Year of the Tiger draws near, China's Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) has put up tiger-themed decorations and events aiming to lighten up the festive mood of locals and tourists alike.

The Macau SAR government has set up lantern decorations at 60 venues across the city and tiger sculptures three meters high in major public venues, seemingly wishing, as some have joked, that tiger, a symbol of strength and might in the Chinese culture, can "scare away" the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2022 Chinese Lunar New Year falls on February 1. It is based on a 12-year Zodiac cycle of characters, with 2022 being the Year of the Tiger.

Local food markets, large shopping centers as well as online food platforms seized the chance to offer attractive discounts and consumption bonuses in various forms.

Aomi, a major online platform for food delivery in Macau, offers lucky draws for customers, live streaming for New Year goods, and digital "red envelopes," which offer money that can be used for online payment.

At the traditional Lunar New Year market held at the Tap Seac Square, over a score of stalls were set up outdoors with the theme of tiger, selling food, festival gifts and flowers while also offering visitors fun games to play with.

A student surnamed Leung and her friend, both from the Macau Institute for Tourism Studies, sell cultural and creative works made by themselves. "The experience will be an unforgettable memory of the Spring Festival," she said, hoping that the epidemic will be over soon in the new year and Macau can regain its economic prosperity.

At the kindergarten affiliated to Kao Yip Middle School, children dressed up in traditional Chinese clothing presented catwalk shows and challenging dragon and lion dances. They also made glutinous rice balls, a traditional festival food.

"I like eating glutinous rice balls and dumplings during the festival and taking part in dragon and lion dancing," said a kindergarten student surnamed Kwan.

With the shadow of COVID-19 still looming, the Macau SAR government has rolled out the festival celebrations with strict epidemic control measures.

Visitors to the New Year market are required to scan the venue QR code to ensure only those with valid Macau health code in green color, implying their sound health condition in terms of COVID-19, are allowed into the market.

A local resident, surnamed Wong, voiced his confidence in the epidemic control measures of the Macau SAR government. "I believe the epidemic has only a little impact on the New Year celebrations this year," he told Xinhua.

The tourism office of the SAR government said on Wednesday that Macau will stage parades next month to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The event, to be held on the 3rd day (February 3) and the 12th day (February 12) of the Lunar New Year, will involve 14 floats and 22 mainland and local performance teams.

In celebration of the Year of the Tiger, the parade will revolve around a story of the Tiger General's victory over a winged epidemic beast. A multimedia dance drama under the same theme will be also presented.

The office said a range of pandemic prevention measures will be adopted for the event, which require audiences to present their valid Macau health code in green color, scan the venue code, undergo temperature checks and maintain social distance, in addition to wearing masks throughout the time on site.

All performers and staff who participate in this event are required to have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine or taken a nucleic acid test for COVID-19.

Li Xi, executive associate dean of the Faculty of International Tourism and Management of the City University of Macau, said organizing these festival events demonstrates the Macau SAR government's confidence in epidemic control and its firm determination to pursue development and stability of the tourism market.

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