A Ma temple or the Mazu temple is one among oldest religious temples of Macau. This is the temple located on southeastern side of Macau Peninsula. The temple has got a history of more than 500 years and is dated back to the 1488 even before the existence of Macau city. The people of this place believed in a goddess Name Mazu, whom they believed was sea Goddess who protects fishermen. This temple was built by the people for showing their respect and devotion towards the goddess. The construction of the temple is done in four main parts. The Gate pavilion, the prayer hall, the Zhengjiao Chanlin, and the hall of Guanyin. The A Ma temple becomes a great representation of the Chinese culture which is inspired by different folk beliefs, Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism as the single complex if this temple has different pavilions that are dedicated for worshipping various deities.
History of the Temple
With the development of fishing and trade along southern Chinese coast, many fishermen villages started coming up. One of these fishermen village got constructed in Macau peninsula’s sheltered bay. The place started evolving gradually a major trading center. During the time of Ming Dynasty during 1488 or much before that, a temple was built at this place which is dedicated to the sea goddess A Ma. When the Portuguese traders reached the place and asked the local about the name of the place the A Ma Gua which means Bay of A Ma. The name of the place Macau is most likely originated from A Ma Gua.
A Ma temple has undergone rebuilding and extension with the centuries. The current look of the temple is due to the renovations that have happened in the year 1828. This temple had become a major depiction in many historical paintings and drawings. It is one among the major tourist sites in Macau. It is a major site for the Spring Festival of China when there is indeed a huge crowd heading towards this temple to pay their respect and prayers to the goddess. It is also a beautiful time to visit the temple as tourists to know the culture, traditions and rituals very close.
The A Ma temple has created the platform for the union of many location religions that include Buddhism and Taoism. The temple dedicated to A – Ma who is regarded as goddess for fishermen and seafarers. As per the legends she was the real person who lived in Putian City. She had the talent to predict future and as per legends, she helps fishermen and traders even after the death.
A Ma temple has so much of history, beliefs and rituals associated with it. The beautiful architecture and the works in the temple are also worth exploring.