Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ma Kok Miu - A-Ma Temple

Name : A-Ma Temple. The former name of A-Ma Temple (Ma Kok Miu) was Ma Tsou

Location : Macau, China

Description :

The oldest temple in Macao, which has a history of over 500 years. It is so alleged that over 400 years ago when Portuguese reached Macao and landed on the sea promontory opposite the A-Ma Temple, they noticed the temple of goddess and asked the local inhabitants the name of the whole place who misunderstood they were denoting the temple and answered "Ma Kok". In this way, the Portuguese transliterated into "Macau" which was the origin of the Portuguese name for Macao.

The whole Temple includes the main hall, stone hall, great mercy hall and Kun lam (Goddess of Mercy, Avalokitesvara) hall four buildings.

At the gate, there are stone lions guarding the temple and the eaves pointing the sky, full of Chinese folk characteristics. The A-Ma Temple was built by the cliff. There are winding paths around upwards the hill. Along the cliff, there are many poems and verses inscribed on stone in all scripts, regular, cursive, seal character and official.

Legend :

Inside the courtyard, there is a relief stone sculpture of Chinese junk. Here goes the allegation that A-Ma sailed out to sea from her native land by this junk. After coping with strong typhoon and fierce-waves, she reached Macao safely. It is said, the Tin Hau, the Queen of Heaven and Protector of Seafarer who was from Pu Tien, Fujian Province, is otherwise known for Niang Ma. She could predict auspicious and inauspicious things and after death made her presence felt on the sea, helping merchants and fishermen to dispel calamity, overcome difficulty and turn danger into safety. Later generations built temple here to pay homage in her memory.

Festivals :

On 23 March every lunar year, the birthday of A-Ma, and in the spring festival, the Temple is crowded with worshippers.

Many male and female disciples gather here to pay homage and to pray for good fortune. Even young men and young women in western-style clothes and in long boots and short skirts come to burn incense to pray for good luck, a quite warm scene.

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