All About In Khmer New Year 2024 In Cambodia

All About In Khmer New Year In Cambodia

In Cambodia, the Cambodian New Year, also known as the Khmer New Year, is both the most important traditional festival and the most significant national holiday. The festival typically lasts three days, but it can sometimes extend to four days. For 2024, the Khmer New Year begins on April 14th, based on the “MohaSangkran,” or ancient horoscope.

The Origin

The Khmer New Year festival originated from Bramhmanism, a part of Hinduism, which was a religion that the Khmer people believed in before Buddhism. Later on, Buddhism became associated with the festival and then took on all the important roles in the festivity.

Inspiration Brahmanism-Hinduism
Inspiration Brahmanism-Hinduism

Special Significance

The sun enters the sign of Aries the Ram to herald the Khmer New Year. This event has historically been linked to the Vernal Equinox. The dates of the sun entering Aries and the Vernal Equinox would have been considerably closer in ancient times, but they have altered owing to a phenomenon known as the precession, in which the Earth wobbles on its axis over a 25,000-year period.

In Cambodia, the Khmer New Year marks the end of the harvest before the beginning of the rainy season.

How is Khmer New Year Celebrated?

Like most New Year holidays, the Khmer New Year is full of traditions and rituals. The three days of celebration each have their own name and associated traditions:

First Day – Maha Songkran

Khmer new year

The first day of the Khmer New Year is called ‘Maha Songkran’. Similar to the Tamil tradition, it is believed that this was the day of creation. In Khmer tradition, the world was created by God’s angels and to welcome the angels, people clean their houses and illuminate them with candles. Families place an idol of Buddha on an altar.

Second Day – Vanabot

Khmer new year

Also known as Virak Wanabat, the second day of the Khmer New Year is a time to think of the less fortunate. People offer charity by helping the poor, servants, and homeless. Families may go to monasteries to pay respect to their ancestors, and it is also a time for family members to exchange gifts.

Third Day – Leang Saka

Khmer new year

On the third day of New Year celebrations, Buddhists wash and clean statues of Lord Buddha with scented water. This cleansing is done to ensure that Cambodia will receive all the water it needs in the coming year. Another tradition is that children wash and bathe their parents and grandparents in return for blessings and good advice for the future.

As we look forward to the Cambodian New Year in 2024, these traditions continue to hold a special place in the hearts of the Khmer people.

Where Is the Best Place to Celebrate Khmer New Year?

In Cambodia, the Cambodian New Year or the Khmer New Year is celebrated nationwide, making any location a potential place to join in the festivities. However, the experiences in Cambodia’s two largest cities, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, are quite distinct.

Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

During the Khmer New Year, most Cambodians leave the capital, Phnom Penh, to celebrate in their hometowns, resulting in a quieter city. Tourists can enjoy the city at its most peaceful, without the usual crowds. A significant event is a procession on the final day of the celebrations involving elephants and horses. While many local shops close, stores in tourist areas remain open, and visitors should have no trouble finding open restaurants or hotels. It’s advisable to check the opening times of attractions to avoid disappointment.

Khmer New Year in Siem Reap

In contrast, tourists in Siem Reap will find themselves at the heart of the action. The city comes alive with music, food, and dancing as locals celebrate in the streets, by the river, and in the Royal Gardens. Tourists are warmly welcomed to join the concerts and street parties that take place throughout the city.

What Food Is Eaten at Khmer New Year?

Street food is a significant part of Cambodian culture, and the Khmer New Year is an ideal time for foreigners to sample traditional dishes such as Lort Cha fried egg noodles, Num Pang Cambodian sandwich, and snails. The typical food eaten at New Year is kralan, a cake made from sticky rice, beans, and coconut milk, roasted inside a bamboo pipe.

Advice for Traveling to Cambodia During Khmer New Year

Given that certain areas can get very busy during the Khmer New Year, it’s a good idea to make plans in advance, including reserving accommodation. April is in Cambodia’s hot season when temperatures can rise above 85 ºF (29 ºC) and humidity levels are around 75%. Loose, long-sleeved clothing should be worn to provide protection from the heat, and sunscreen and a hat are also essential. Not all businesses and attractions will remain open during the holiday, especially away from tourist areas. As banks will be closed, it’s advisable to have enough cash for these few days.

As we look forward to the Cambodian New Year in 2024, these traditions continue to hold a special place in the hearts of the Khmer people.Show learn more suggestions.