Khmer New Year, also known as Choul Chhnam Khmer, is the most significant traditional festival in Cambodia. It is not only a time for celebration but also a national holiday that lasts for three days, and sometimes even four. The festival has deep roots in both Hinduism and Buddhism, reflecting the cultural and religious diversity of Cambodia. The first day of Khmer New Year is dedicated to welcoming new angels, while the second day is all about offering gifts to parents and elders as a sign of respect and gratitude. Finally, the third day marks the official start of the new year. During this time on April 14, 15, and 16, Buddhists engage in the ritual of washing Buddha statues and their elders with perfumed water on a day called T’ngai Loeng Sak.
Khmer New Year holds great importance to the Cambodian people, as it serves as a time for reconnecting with family, friends, and community members. It is a time for socializing and strengthening relationships. Traditional games are played during this festive period, creating a vibrant and lively atmosphere throughout the country. These games include coconut smashing, tug-of-war, and various forms of dancing and singing. The streets are adorned with colorful decorations, and traditional music fills the air, adding to the joyful ambiance of the celebrations.
Furthermore, Khmer New Year also provides an opportunity for young people to search for potential partners. It is considered an auspicious time for romantic relationships to blossom, and many young Cambodians take part in matchmaking activities during this period. This aspect of the festival adds an element of excitement and anticipation to the celebrations.
Khmer New Year is a significant festival in Cambodia that holds deep cultural and religious meaning. It is celebrated for three days, with each day having its own unique significance. From welcoming new angels to offering gifts to elders and starting the new year, the festival encompasses various customs and traditions. It is a time for joy, unity, and cultural pride as Cambodians come together to celebrate their heritage.
Khmer New Year Day (Choul Chhnam Khmer) : April 14, 15, 16