MACAO, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- As the Lunar Year of the Tiger draws near, China's Macao 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 Macao SAR government has erected 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 Feb. 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 Macao, 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 Macao 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 Macao can regain its economic prosperity.
"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 Macao 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 Macao health code in green color, implying their sound health condition in terms of COVID-19, are allowed into the market.
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.