The Khmer New Year is one of the most important holidays in Cambodia. Also celebrated in Thailand and other Buddhist countries these days are filled with water throwing at passers-by and other games.
Cambodian New Year or Chaul Chnam Thmey in Khmer , literally means "Enter the New Year". The holiday lasts for three days beginning on New Year's day, which usually falls on April 13th or 14th. This time of the year is the end of the harvesting season. The farmers enjoy the fruits of their harvest and relax before the rainy season begins.
The three days of Khmer New Year can be described as follows:
Maha Songkran is the name of the first day of the new year's celebration. It is the end of the year and the beginning of a new one. People dress up and light candles and burn incense sticks at shrines. The members of each family pay homage to offer thanks for the Buddha's teachings by bowing, kneeling and prostrating themselves three times before his image. For good luck people wash their face with holy water in the morning, their chests at noon, and their feet in the evening before they go to bed.
Virak Wanabat is the name of the second day of the new year's celebration. People contribute charity to the less fortunate, help the poor, homeless people, and low-income families. Families attend a dedication ceremony to their ancestors at the monastery.
Tngay Leang Saka
Tngay Leang Saka is the name of the third day of the new year's celebration. Buddhists cleanse the Buddha statues and elders with perfumed water. Bathing the Buddha isymbolizes the people's need for water for all beings. It is also thought to be a kind of deed that will bring longevity, good luck, happiness and prosperity in life. By bathing their grandparents and parents, children get best wishes and good advice for the future in return. This ceremony is called "Pithi Srang Preah".
The Khmer New Year is fun for visitors. You can join the ceremonies, pay respect to Buddha statues by bathing them, enjoy a drink and a splash with the local population.