Among the events that celebrate annually, there are two main festivals that are hugely held and participated by almost every citizen in the whole country. Each festival has its own celebrations and events which are absolutely interesting to know. Those festivals including Khmer New Year, and Water Festival. The brief detail and the how the festivals celebrate will be described as follows.
1.Khmer New Year
Khmer New Year or Chol Chnam Thmei in Khmer language, is the name of Cambodian’s celebration as the changing old things from the old year to the new year base on Buddhist calendar. This event lasts for 3 days which usually falls on the 13th or 14th of April annually. The date is set based on the end of harvesting season which is when the farmers finished their work and started to celebrate while gathering with families and friends before the rainy season begins. A few days before Khmer New Year comes, everyone makes sure that they clean their house and space around the house in order to welcome the angel of the upcoming new year. During this event, people of all ages celebrate each day differently as illustrates below.
Moha Sankran or in Sanskrit as Maha Sankranti, is the name of the very first day of Khmer New Year. As it is the beginning of the new year, Cambodian people light the candles and incense sticks by the shrines in their house so that each member of the family can offer the thank and gratefulness to Buddha and the angels for taking good care of them throughout the year.
Vireak Vanabat is the name of the second day of Khmer New Year when people dress up in their traditional clothes and bring food as well as the beverages to the pagoda where they dedicate to their ancestors. There are also another small events in the pagoda during Khmer New Year such as build sand stupas to wish and pray for prosperity and luck in the new year, etc.
Vireak Lerng Sak
As the last day of Khmer New Year, Vireak Lerng Sak is the day that Buddhists go to the pagoda and wash Buddha statues as well as their parents and grandparents with the perfumed water. By doing so, people believe that the bad things from the last year will be washed away just like the water cleans the dirt so that everything will start fresh in the new year which brings them luck for the whole year.
Noted that besides the religious celebrations, Cambodian people also play traditional games together in various places in their areas such as pagodas, schools, in the villages, etc. Khmer New Year is one of the joyful celebrations for Cambodian people.
At the same time, you can also enjoy the other event called Angkor Sankranta which celebrates in Siem Reap province along with dozens of occasions in both days and nights. The fun and joy are all there, once you try, you will never forget such great experience and memory.
Water Festival or Bon Om Touk (Boat Racing) is a very joyful celebration in Cambodia which celebrates in November every year. Every town and province in the whole country joins the festival; however, the biggest celebration takes place in Phnom Penh along Sisowath Quay where boats from every place in Cambodia compete for each other. Just like Khmer New Year, Water Festival also celebrates for 3 days. The festival celebrates differently during the day and at night which will be shown below.
During the three days straight, people from everywhere gather by the riverside to watch boat racing from morning to evening as there are hundreds of racing boats from the different part in Cambodia. People cheering and screaming in the crowd as the boats from their town wins which is absolutely fun and joyful. There are also a lot of fairs and exhibitions as well as a lot of food and drink sells along with souvenir for people to see and buy.
Things get even more special at night as the whole 3 nights; there are firework displays as well as the display of illuminated boats which represents each government ministry as well as state institution beautifully along the river. People can relax and enjoy the view with their friends and family while eating Ombok (rice hush) with coconut and banana together. Besides the view of firework and illuminate boats, people can also enjoy watching the full moon as Water Festival celebrates on full moon day which is absolutely a fantastic and great holiday to relax from workdays.
"Start a new day with a smile, and everything will be alright."