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Na Tcha, the Feast to the Child God
TEXT Catarina Mesquita
PHOTOS António Sanmarful
The Feast of Na Tcha is celebrated on the 18th day of the 5th lunar month, falling in the middle of Macao’s June calendar of festivities.
Birthday feasts for Na Tcha are held in two temples dedicated to the child god – one near the Ruins of St. Paul’s, the other on Calçada das Verdades – before the celebratory processions through Macao.
It is said that, when human, Na Tcha was such a troublesome child that his parents tried to chain his wrists to stop Na Tcha from causing so much trouble. He always managed to escape, though, and ran so fast that it was as if he had wheels attached to his feet. This is why he is represented with rings around his wrists and wheels on his feet, dressed in a traditional red and gold apron.
In Chinese tradition, Na Tcha is the protector of children, safeguarding them against evil spirits, disease, and illnesses.