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Last updated : Oct 2007
Phnom Penh Festival - Events
Phnom Penh Festivals and Events Guide - TravelPuppy.com
International New Year's Day January 1st
Victory Day marking the fall of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge in 1979,
January 7th
Chinese and
New Year
is celebrated during the period of the full moon in
February. This is also a Chinese and Vietnamese
celebration and many shops and businesses close.
Women's Day colourful parades mark this holiday on the 8th of March.
Chaul Chhnam
or Cambodian
New Year
This celebration is the equivalent of Songkran in
Thailand and follows the end of the harvest season.
Generally lasts for three days from 14-16 April
during which time Cambodians drench each other
liberally with water. Also clean and decorate their
houses and make offerings at the temples. The
streets are decorated and brightly lit in the evenings.
Cultural shows, entertainment and competitive games
are held country wide.
Visa Ka Bocea marking the birth and the first sermon of the Buddha
is celebrated on the 17th of May.
Royal Ploughing
The ritual is performed every 21st of May, with two
people taking on the roles of King of Neakh, who leads
the yoke and plough and Queen Me Hour, who sows
seeds. After circling the field 3 times, the celebrants
stop at a chapel where Brahmins invoke the protection
of the gods. Sacred cows are guided to eat from
seven silver trays containing rice, corn, and beans.
Predictions are made for the coming year. The harvest
will be good if they choose the cereals, rain will be
abundant if they drink water, but trouble is feared if
they eat herbs, or drink alcohol.
Children's Day
June 1st
Queen's Birthday June 18th
Buddhist Lent July. The exact date depends on the lunar calendar
and commemorates the beginning of the three month
Buddhist Lent. Young men consider this a key day for
entering the monkhood.
End of Buddhist
September. celebrations of the end of Buddhist Lent,
with exact date determined by the lunar calendar.
Pchum Ben or
Soul Day
Lasts for 15 days from the end of September into
October and the exact date determined by the lunar calendar. It is one of the most culturally significant
in Cambodia and this festival is dedicated to blessing
the spirits of the dead. Each family visit their Buddhist
temple and offers food to the monks for their help in
blessing the souls of their late ancestors, relatives
and friends. Pagodas are packed with people taking turns to make offerings, and many staying to listen
to Buddhist sermons.
Bonn Kathen October is the month when a religious festival when
monks come out of retreat and people all over the
country form reverent processions to their local
temple. Monks change their old saffron coloured
robes for new ones offered by the devotees, an
action that brings spiritual merit to all those who participate. The date is decided by the lunar calendar.
Birthday of
His Majesty
King Norodom
is held over three days beginning October 30th.
People gather from all corners of Cambodia to enjoy
the shows, parades, festivals and a giant firework
display in Phnom Penh.
Held on November 9th to celebrate the independence
of Cambodia from France in 1953. A parade is held
in front of the Royal Palace, which includes floats,
marching bands and other entertaining festivities.
Bonn Om Took
Water Festival
November, celebrates the reversed current of the
Tonle Sap River that converges the Tonle Sap Lake
with the Mekong River. For most of the year the river
flows out of the lake into the Mekong. During the rainy season from June to October the Mekong rises,
causing the Tonle Sap River to flow in reverse and
the lake to rise to more than twice its normal size.
At the end of the rainy season, the water level of the
Mekong drops again, and the current reverts and
flows back into the Mekong. The celebration lasts
three days with boat races, fairs, festivals, shows,
parades, fireworks, music and dancing. Bring your camera!