Cambodia is one of the countries in Southeast Asia which consisting various of cultures and traditions that have been practicing since the ancient period until the present. As you want to visit Cambodia, you should better to know some interesting ceremonies where people locally celebrate and when is the time, they hold those events yearly. Relatedly, almost all Cambodian people are categorized as Buddhism, however, it is really fascinating to learn that since the Khmer Empire, we are practicing the mixture of Buddhist and Hinduist in most of the ceremonies, we have been holding on every year.
Due to the facts, let find out what are the ceremonies that you are going to learn traditionally and culturally religions from Cambodia.
Khmer New Year
Khmer New Year is known to celebrate in the mid-April every year from 13-15. It is one of the national ceremonies that not rarely miss doing and it is also a meeting the time between family members who move to work or live further from home. Taking time over three days, the name of the Khmer New Year ceremony is divided into three differences which are Maha Songkran, Virak Vanabat, and Vearak Loeng Sak. Meanwhile, the first day of the new year celebration. Khmer New Year is a time for relatives to pray for their past loved one and every house will be well decorated into different flowers to offer a new angel come to protect the earth. Making this gesture, they believe by sending food, flowers, and other offerings to the monks in pagoda meaning they are paying respect or gratitude to their ancestors. It also represents the good deeds you start doing in a new chapter of the Khmer New Year. In addition, you will see families starting to do the parent bathing in their home, for the purpose of asking for any sin you make throughout the year went on unintentionally, and may the new year bring happiness, prosperity, and luck to everyone in the family. Occasionally, each family will plan to travel somewhere for a picnic and talk or a small party at home with the whole family members on the last day. By the way, at the pagoda, there will be a traditional game played by the teenagers who happily dance and play those games at a nice time with traditional Khmer music.
Pchum Ben Ceremony
A deep respecting and giving back the gratitude for their parents is what most of the Cambodian people really practice like from children to parents, to grandparents, and to ancestors. Therefore, each year in early or mid-September, there is a ceremony called Pchum Ben, which combines the Khmer words “Pchum”, which means “to gather together”, and “Ben”, a “ball of food”. when Cambodians honor their ancestors up to seven generations back which will hold for 15 days. It is one of the most important holidays in the country and has been applied for years respectfully. Offering the foods to the monks and invite them to transfer the foods to their ancestors who died long or in a short period of time. It is also believed that deceased relatives will wait at the pagoda for food made by their families during the first 14 days of Pchum Ben are called Dak Ben. Before going to the pagoda children prepare lunch for their parents. Old people always say, “What god you have at home is more powerful than any god in the pagoda. It is believed that some of their ancestors, those who committed sins when they were alive, cannot enter the temples, even as ghosts. And they can only eat food that is prepared by their descendants, so that food is for them. People believe that if these spirits don’t see their relatives bringing food for them, they will get angry and curse their relative bad luck.
Water Festival Celebration
The water festival is celebrated every year in November for three days to honor the victory of Cambodian Naval forces in the reign of King JayvarmanVII, during the Angkor period of the 12th century. And this ceremony is to history about the military exercise of our navy force in the course of national defense and to express thanks to the 3 Buddhist symbols Gods and the holy thing which helped us and agriculture field and serves as an opportunity to pray for our lord for the happiness and sufficient rain for rice cultivation. Besides the regatta, the water festival also includes three other ceremonies: illuminated float (Loy Pratip), moon salutation (Sampeas Preah Khe) and the eating of pestle new special rice with banana or coconut juice (Ork Ambok). The ceremony last three for days to provide an opportunity for people to be part of the competition of boats racing.
During the nighttime at about seven o’clock, the river was lit by jazzy illuminated boats, which floated slowly, and smoothly on the water’s surface. Each of them was equipped with thousands of flashy neon lights arranged in different colorful, fancy patterns representing state institutions, ministries, and services. After a little time, fireworks and multi-color were lit to entertain people with made loud noises in those three days.