A time of remembrance and a time of reunion is what Pchum Ben festival or Ancestor’s Day is about, 15 days of Buddhist lent to meditate and pray for the souls that are trapped in the spirit world.
“Pchum” meaning ‘to gather together’ and “Ben” ‘a rice ball of food’ is celebrated starting September 25 until October 9 which marks the final or the 15th day of the lent. The festival is considered by some as Cambodia’s most popular holiday where everyone goes back to their provinces to give reverence to their deceased relatives and ancestors though praying and offering.
It is believed in Buddhist religion that the gates of hell are opened for souls which were imprisoned to actively travel to the living land to receive and visit their relatives. Some spirits are temporarily free but others are to gain permanent relief. Cambodians show their respect to their ancestors by visiting temples and pagodas to dedicate and offer food to the dead. Participants rise very early in the morning to prepare and cook rice balls and other food which were loved by their ancestors to be blessed by monks who chant Sutta overnight.
It is also believed that spirits will look in seven different pagodas to come and seek their offerings and if the spirits aren’t able to find their living relatives’ offering in any of the pagodas they have visited, they will be cursed because they aren’t able to eat the food offered by others.
With the National public holiday set from October 8-10 people will be dressed in white traditional Khmer clothing paired with beautiful silk textile skirts for women while men are in festive clothes similar to the usual school uniform. Coming together as a family people normally head to the biggest and most popular pagodas in Siem Reap: Wat Bo, Wat Preah Prom Rath and Wat Damnak.
A time for reunion, commemoration and love for your ancestors to guide and help them back into the cycle of reincarnation. An opportunity to finally attain a peaceful inner spirit in ceremonies held around temples with lit incense, mounds of sand or rice decorated pointing to the sky.
Where To Stay in Siem Reap this Pchum Ben
Navutu Dreams Resort & Wellness Retreat – Pchum Ben Staycation
Celebrate this wonderful holiday and experience it better by staying in Siem Reap’s hidden oasis just a few minutes away from the biggest pagodas and temples in town. The perfect place for a getaway this Pchum Ben, book your “Pchum Ben Staycation” starting from US$75 net for a night valid from October 8-14. Indulge in relaxed luxury this October so book early and claim this promotion.
Experience more of Pchum Ben by doing our Community Tour available both in the morning and the afternoon. Participate in a meaningful experience and visit a beautiful and unique age-old pagoda to witness this authentic Lenten festival. An up-close experience to immerse yourself in the destination, learn, enjoy and create lasting memories. Priced at US$5 net per person in the morning available Monday, Wednesday and Friday and US$10 net per person in the afternoon available on Tuesday and Thursday.