Cambodian New Year | One of the Most Significant Celebrations in Cambodia

Cambodian New Year

Cambodian New Year – Angkor Sankranta 2017

Here in Siem Reap the preparations have been well under way and this will be the same across the country, the Cambodian New Year is coming! One of the biggest holidays in the Cambodian calendar, Khmer New Year or “Bon Chol Chhnam Thmei” in Cambodian, begins this Friday the 14th April and will last for three days.

The start date of the festival is usually on the 13th or 14th every year and depends on the ancient horoscope. The decision to have the festival at this time was actually decided by one of the ancient Kings to coincide with the end of the harvest when farmers have a break before the rainy season. Before that, the Cambodian New Year was in fact celebrated 4 months earlier every year, according to the Lunar Calendar.

Nowadays, it is a great national holiday where many businesses will close and families and friends have a chance to gather, give thanks and celebrate, with many who live in towns returning to their home province to be with their families. Each day entails a mixture of visiting the pagoda, paying homage and thanks for Buddha’s teachings, and giving thanks to the elders. Many people will celebrate with parties, games and dancing, while the town itself will become a playground for all to enjoy!

If you have not been here for a Cambodian New Year before, it is well worth experiencing at least once in your life, a new (ish) tradition is said to have come from the use of water in blessing ceremonies, and is the use of water thrown over each other, or water fights using water pistols. You will find walking down most streets there is a risk of being drenched, especially Pub Street in the center of Siem Reap which is the epicenter of all New Year celebrations (We get three after all here in Siem Reap, the Chinese, the Khmer and the International!). This is great fun as long as you are prepared for it, so wear clothes you do not mind getting wet, cover your phone and valuables in plastic, and get involved in the fun!

Here is an overview of the Angkor Sankranta (Cambodian New Year) schedule this year:

April 13th

8:00 am – Blessing Ceremony

April 14th

3:12 am – Reception of the Arrival of the New Year Tevada

8:00 am – Opening Ceremony

4:00 pm – Angkor Sankranta Friendship Tug of War (Teanh Proat)

5:00 pm – Khmer Popular Games and Traditional Dance Show

6:00 pm – Floating Lanterns Ceremony

7:00 pm – Khmer Classical Theater: “One Century of History of the Cambodian Royal Ballet”

April 15th

8:00 am – Visiting Pagoda and Sand Mounding Ceremony (Poon Phnom Khsach)

4:00 pm – Angkor Sankranta Parade “Sabathrath Khemara”

30 pm – Mask Theater (L’khoan Khaol) “Heroic of Hanuman”

April 16th

8:00 am – Angkor Sankranta Chess Championship Final

11:00 am – Awarding Ceremony: Photo Competition “Selfie@ Angkor Sankranta”

2:00 pm – Bathing of Buddha Statue Ceremony (Srang Preah)

3:00 pm – Awarding Ceremony: Oxcart/Buffalo Racing at Road 60 Market – Kyung Yu Fun Fair

5:00 pm – Khmer Popular Games and Traditional Dance Show

6:30 pm – Angkor Sankranta Concert “We Believe in Cambodia”

From everyone here at Samadhi Yoga, Happy Khmer New Year! Or “sur s’dey chh’nam t’mey”!

Where to Stay in Siem Reap for Khmer New Year or Angkor Sankranta

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