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Khmer New Year

The Khmer people have adopted the fifth solar month, known as Khè Chèt, to celebrate their New Year festival.

Usually, according to the solar calendar, the Khmer New Year falls on the 13th of April although sometimes it falls on the 14th of April.

The New Year’s festival spans three days following the end of the harvest season. Cambodian people clean and decorate their house with altars of offering.

The auspicious occasion of the Khmer New Year is detailed in the astrological almanac and extends over three days.

The first day is known as Maha Sangkran or "Great Almanac Day", the second day is called Veara Vanabath or "Worshipping Day", and the third day is known as Veara Leung Sak or "Rank and Promotion Day". Of the three days Veara Leung Sak is considered the most auspicious.

During the Khmer New Year Festival, youths gather to play popular traditional games such as Chaol Chhoung (throwing a ball) and Bas Angkunh (throwing brown seeds).

The youths are normally divided into female and male teams to play these games.

In some parts of Cambodia, e.g. Siem Reap and Battambang, they play a game known as the "Trot Dance". Trot performers dance and ask for alms from house to house in their village.


Trot Dance

A man will ride on a long curved stick with a deer's head on one side and with a cluster of grass on the other side like the deer's tail.

Two men pretend to be hunters and are armed with a cross-bow.

When they receive alms they will donate it for the benefit of the local pagoda.

In villages along the Mekong River in the province of Kandal women gather to rowboats in front of the pagodas.

This action is believed to appease the crocodiles.

This custom originated long ago when many crocodiles lived in the river.

In some villages, people trample on effigies to appease the ghosts that live in the trees near the pagodas and ask for happiness in the coming year.

The Khmer people will gather together and visit pagodas and temples on the occasion of the Khmer New year.

Each year many residents from other provinces visit Angkor Wat to worship to the powerful gods and trace their ancestors' heritage.

 

Khmer Traditional Dances

Khmer Traditional Games

 

 


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