The making of transnational religious places: a study on the Sinulog Festival in a Filipino migrant community in Macau
Tat-In TAM, Geography and Education Research Association of Macau, Macao
Besides the Chinese and the Portuguese, the Filipino community has become one of the major ethnic groups in Macau as a result of introducing migrant workers to the city in the past decade. Sinulog Festival, the most important religious celebration in the Filipino community of Macau, provides opportunity for the members to reform their sense of belonging and identity though the cultural practice in an overseas context. Their subjectivity in the Macau society is also claimed through presenting and re-presenting the culture in this public event. In addition, the Sinulog Festival also contributes to the process of transnational religious place making in the participant’s migration journey.
This study uses the Sinulog Festival in Macau in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 as the case. Ethnographic methods including participant observation and interview in fieldwork are used to collect data for the study. On-site fieldwork is conducted in January 2019, 2020 and 2022, and online materials of the Festival are also collected for analysis. Through a micro perspective, this study aims at discussing how transnational religious places were created through the contents of celebration, and how migrant’s religious places were created and existed in different temporal and spatial scales.
In this study I argue that transnational religious places can be considered as places created through collective cultural practices that imbued meanings and characteristics to ordinary spaces, places created by relations within ethnic members, and places maintained by participants in their individual practices. These places can be created and existed in various scales of time and space in the migration journey.
Theoretically, this study provides a unique perspective on transnationalism as well as on place making, and suggests that lived religious practices have continuous influences on migrants’ lives. Empirically, this study provides an insight into the non-western society where migration takes place.
Keywords: Filipino|Macau|Sinulog|Place Making|Transnational Religious Place