Aah! Good old Sunday mornings. Nothing like a beautiful day with some jazz playing, listening to the birds chirping while sipping on some cold juice with the sun shining. However, this isn’t just an ordinary Sunday but rather the start of a very special holiday for the Cambodians, Khmer New Year.
Khmer New Year (Year of the pig) is a 3 day celebration starting from the 14th April this year. Cambodians will spend this time with their families with many travelling back to their home provinces. This is generally what happens;
Day 1: Maha Sangkran
Incense is lit and offerings are placed in shrines and at the entrances to homes paying homage and thanks to Buddha and his teachings.
Day 2: Virak Vanabat
People spend this day with friends and family. Gifts are normally given to their elders and the less fortunate (generally food). People will also spend the day having a lunch somewhere together.
Day 3: Vearak Loeng Sak
People will wash Buddha statues and their elders with blessed water. It is thought to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year.
The air of friends and family coming together to celebrate is filled with music and laughter and completely inescapable, yet everyone is invited. Probably one of the best things about Cambodians, is how welcoming they are in sharing whatever they have.
The town comes to a stand still during this time. Many stores and businesses close and everybody gets ready to unleash a water street fight. Water guns, cannons, buckets and hose pipes are all prepared in spirit of spraying anyone that passes by. Perfect way to cool down in this harsh April heat.
Our Schools came together to celebrate the New Year by having several performances by our students. It was a fantastic day seeing everyone dressed in their traditional clothing feeling the holiday spirit. Siem Reap will be coming alive at night and we will post some more pics from the exciting holiday. 🙂