The 16th Lusofonia Festival in Macau. There was celebration in the air!
Representatives of 10 Portuguese speaking nations / regions – Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Guinea Bissau, Goa, Timor Lest, Brazil, host Macau and of course, Portugal – had set up booths around the Taipa Houses Museum, to showcase their local culture as well as their shared lusofone heritage.
That evening, I developed a great respect for the brave Portuguese seafarers, who in the late-1400s / early 1500s reached far-flung corners of the world. These adventurous sailors set out with no fear of life or limb, using the maritime technology of the time, to reach the distant spice producing nations. A remarkable achievement even by today’s standards!
Determined to make the most of the evening, hubby and I headed first to the Brazilian stall to get us some Caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil. Caipirinha is a heady combination of Cachaca (Brazil’s most popular distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice), sugar and lime. The potent cocktail set the tone for a long evening of cultural immersion, if you know what I mean 😉
I looked around and saw smiling faces everywhere – friends catching up, strangers mingling, people dancing without a care, children running around freely. Most importantly, there were no smart phone zombies in sight. Such a rarity in today’s gadget-obsessed world! The Lusophonia festival brought back fond memories of what a ‘fete’ used to be like in the good old days.
And we didn’t feel like tourists or outsiders here. We were kindred spirits who fit right into this happy milieu.
Next, we visited the Goa booth. Hubby indulged in all the spicy pork dishes (vindaloo, sorportel, chorizo) the Goans were selling. We also savoured some feni, a distilled spirit made from the cashew fruit. Not for the faint-hearted, I say!
At the Portugal stall, free sangria was being handed out throughout the evening. A generous gesture from the country that was the reason behind the entire event. A never-ending supply of the fruity drink kept the crowd in high spirits.
Various musical acts performed at the amphitheatre nearby. Against the backdrop of dazzling casino lights, Stewart Sukuma from Mozambique took to the stage. His delightful Afro-Portuguese style of music got the crowd in a frenzy. It is said, music needs no language. We just danced into the night.
Grande primeira noite em Macau!
Curious about Macau’s food? Read my post, Culinary Delights of Macau.