Cambodian festivals and Theravada Buddhist rituals are irrevocably linked. Even the rise of the Khmer Rouge and Western culture could not do much to suppress the practice of festival celebrations in Cambodia. During the summer festivals in Cambodia, the citizens find a great opportunity to connect and enjoy a common understanding of Cambodian culture, values, and traditions. People from all corners and corners of Cambodia come to the capital to witness the organized fireworks that accompany the holidays. Take a look at some of the best summer festivals in Cambodia:
Popular Summer Festivals in Cambodia
1. Meak Bochea Day
It is the most important traditional summer festival in Cambodia for monks, which marks the beginning of all religious festivals in Cambodia. Meak Bochea recalls the last sermon of the Buddha, in which he summed up the “heart of Buddhism” in three principles: cessation of evil, deed of good, purification of mind. On this day, monks across the country celebrate the time of history when Lord Buddha delivered his sermon to the 1250 monks who gathered spontaneously in Rajagaha Valuwan Vihara. Theravada Buddhists gather in procession at Khlong Luang – Dhammakaya temple, meditating and praying in the morning. They then circle twice with incense, candles, and flowers on the central altar under the full moon night sky.
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2. Khmer New Year (Chaul Chnam Thmey)
The whole of Cambodia commemorates Chol Chnam Thmay or the Cambodian New Year festival in a bustling atmosphere with bright lights on the roads from the temples to the royal palace. On New Year’s Eve, millions of Cambodian families organize a night festival with garlands of flowers and thousands of gleaming colored lanterns floating on the lake, which quickly grabs the attention of tourists. It is believed that if the lights of a family can come on obviously and brilliantly all night, the owners will be lucky in the New Year. Moreover, instead of blessing each other a lot of luck during the year, the Khmers welcome the New Year with a water splash ceremony.
3. King Norodom Sihamoni’s Birthday
The festival is very important to the people of Cambodia as it is reminiscent of the achievements of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot when a government with limited powers was missing. This best summer festival in Cambodia is celebrated on the occasion of the birth and coronation of the current Cambodian ruler, King Norodom Sihamoni. The celebration continues for three days each year, with practical dancing on the streets with ribbons and billboards congratulating the king on this auspicious day.
4. Visaka Bochea Day (Buddha’s “Birthday”)
A one-day celebration of the three major events in the life of Visaka Bochea Buddha: the birth of the Buddha, his enlightenment, and his passage to nirvana. On this famous summer festival in Cambodia, Buddhists pray to Lord Buddha and donate food and clothing to local monks. This is mainly celebrated in areas where there are strong followers of Buddhism. The traditional festival is celebrated on the full moon night of the 6th month according to the Khmer lunar calendar.
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5. Royal Ploughing Ceremony (Pithi Chrat Preah Neanng Korl)
Cambodia has a deep relationship with the Earth and agriculture; hence there is a deep astrological conviction that the ox plays an important role in determining the fate of the harvest. That’s why the Royal Plowing Ceremony is held in the large park next to the Royal Palace every May. This popular summer festival in Cambodia is also one of the most memorable celebrations to mark the good start of the rice-growing season in Cambodia. On that day, a representative of the King of Cambodia begins the ceremony with the royal oxen plowing, which marks the beginning of a good harvest season. No matter how modern life is, the ancient Khmers have long believed that the ritual can result in a bumper crop and avoid droughts, floods, famine and disease.
6. Ancestors’ Day (Pchum Ben)
Celebrated on the last day of the Dak Ben Festival, September 4, the Pchum Ben Festival is an extremely sacred holiday for Cambodians. Of this, Cambodians often visit at least seven temples to pray for their beloved ancestors, light candles to take home the soul of the infantry and scatter rice to the delight of those roaming the visiting temples. This most popular summer festival in Cambodia makes even more sense for those celebrating those who lost loved ones during the Khmer Rouge occupation in the late 1970s.
7. Water Festival (Bonn Om Touk)
Once a year, on the full moon day of the Buddhist month, a Bon Om Touk festival is organized to commemorate the return between Tonle Sap Lake and the Mekong River. Visit Phnom Penh, tourists can enjoy the festivities of the locals at Sisowath Harbor on the Mekong River. 3 small ceremonies at the unique Bon Om Touk Festival include Loy Pratip – a night parade on the river bank, Sampeah Preah Khae, a prayer ceremony for the full moon Auk Ambok – the night ceremony with Ambok – people focused on eating a traditional meal. with flat-rolled fried rice, banana and coconut. The 3-day festival is an excellent opportunity for Cambodians to relax and commemorate travelers with animated boat races and special dance performances with traditional Khmer music.
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Hope you enjoyed the brief list of the top 5 summer festivals in Cambodia that offer umpteen beach sports and fabulous scenic views of the city. There are various famous spots at the mentioned Festivals of All Seasons Celebrated in Cambodia which delivers many attractions. For more engaging blogs like these head on to our other blogs and ping us in the comment sections below if you hold any queries regarding the travel destinations.
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