The largest traditional festivals in Cambodia

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Most popular festivals in Cambodia are often associated with Theravada Buddhist rituals. They have profoundly affected the lives of the people. Even the bloody war of the Khmer Rouge could not eradicate these holidays. If you tour Cambodia at the time of the festival, visitors will see many custom and religious specialties of local people.

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1. Victory Day for Genocide (07/01)

This is a very special holiday for the Cambodian people as it marks the event of the country escaping the genocide of the Khmer Rouge. On this day, parades are usually organized by the Cambodian government to commemorate the victims.

2. Meak Bochea Festival

Meak Bochea is a very important festival in Cambodia. It was designed to honor the Buddha and his teachings. Often held on the full moon day of the third lunar month, Buddhist celebrates by taking candles in a nearby temple.

3. Traditional Khmer Day (Chaul Chnam Thmey)

As one of the most popular festivals in Cambodia, local people will rest, clean their houses and do merit at the temple during Chaul Chnam Thmey. In addition, visitors will also see a fight on the street fun if traveling to Cambodia at this time.

Chaul Chnam Thmey via Phnom Penh – Cambodia

4. Buddha Day – Vesaka Bochea (17/04)

Vesaka Bochea is one of the three important milestones of the Buddha: birth, enlightenment and nirvana. The Buddhists will perform the ceremony at the temple and give food, clothes for the local monks.

5. Pithi Chrat Preah Neang Korl – April, May

Royal plowing ceremony is a religious ceremony marked the beginning of the rice-growing season in Cambodia. On this day, the festival will be initiated by the Cambodian king, the King’s representative will plow on a field in Phnom Penh with the sacred cow, then they predict the next crop based on the food that the cow chooses. This festival has been held since the mid-1200s, derived from ancient Hindu rituals to pray for a bountiful crop. Cambodians believe that the ceremony can predict important events such as a good weather, floods, illness or even famine.

6. Royal Praying Ceremony (Pithi Chrat Preah Neanng Korl)

This is one of the most famous festivals, marking a good start of the rice growing season in Cambodia. The Khmer people believe that the ceremony can bring a bountiful crop, avoiding droughts and floods.

8. Cambodia King’s Birthday

The king celebrates his birthday simply for offering to the monk and donating items to the poor in Cambodia. But the government will give citizens 3 days off. There are many banners on the street and dances to celebrate the King’s birthday.

Chaul Chnam Thmey via Phnom Penh – Cambodia

7. Ancestors Day – Pchum Ben

Pchum Ben is a very sacred holiday for the Cambodian people. On this day, they often visit at least seven temples in order to pray for their loved ones who have died and light candles to guide the soul. The Khmer also spread rice on the courtyard around the temple so that the ancestors could eat.

8. National Day of Cambodia (09/11)

This is the anniversary of the independence of Cambodia after the French colonial rule. An independent monument located in central Phnom Penh is lit up by the flames of victory in the presence of the entire Cambodian population. There are also some cultural activities, parades on Norodom Boulevard and fireworks in the evening. Guests can visit the Monument Independence during their Cambodia tour.

9. Water Festival – Bon Om Touk

The Bon Om Touk Water Festival in Cambodia takes place once a year on the full moon day of the Buddhist month of Kadeuk (usually November). The highlight of the festival is the glorious boat race on the river. People gathered in Sisowath harbor to cheer their favorite boats.

Significant note:

  • Tourists visit the land of the pagoda tower, please remember recollections of these rules
  • Do not wear short dresses and wear slippers when visiting temple temples.
  • Do not touch, sit on statues or take pictures without permission, sign the temple and statues in the temple.
  • Women are never allowed to touch monks, this act is considered by the Cambodians as a violation to monks’ honor.

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