Inside Vietnam: Cambodia Laos

Cambodia New Year

Khmer New Year, is the traditional Cambodian New Year period. Stretching over a few days, the celebrations go on across the country.

The festival is three days long and each day has its own tradition and rituals. The first day (Maha Songkran) and is believed to be the day of creation. In Khmer tradition, the world was created by God's angels and, to welcome the angels, people will clean their houses from top to bottom and illuminate them with candles. Families will also place a statue of Buddha on an altar. For good luck, people will wash their face with holy water in the morning, their chests at noon and their feet before they go to bed. Officially the first day of the year, today marks the end of the harvest and the beginning of the rainy season.

The second day (Vanabot), is the time to think of the less fortunate. People make donations and offerings by helping the poor and homeless. Families will go to monasteries to pay respect to their ancestors and it is also a time for family members to exchange gifts.

On the third day (Leang Saka), Buddhists will wash and clean statue of Buddha with scented water, thought to ensure that Cambodia will receive all the water it needs in the coming year. Children will also wash their parents and grandparents in return for blessings and good advice for the future.

Visitors travelling during this time will be able to witness this unique and exciting festival. Whilst it does mean that the towns and religious sites will be busy with local travellers, transport will take a little longer than usual and most family run restaurants and shops will be closed, the celebratory atmosphere running through the town will make it a visit to remember!

Cambodia New Year

located in Siem Reap

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