KHMER NEW YEAR: ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FESTIVAL IN CAMBODIA
The Khmer New Year’s Eve Festival 2017 (Angkor Sangkranta) is definitely the most important event in Cambodia. Often mentioned as one of the best spots in Cambodia and South-East Asia, the Khmer NYE celebration in Siem Reap attract every year thousands of visitors, from other Cambodia provinces and foreign countries.
The Khmer New Year’s Eve (Angkor Sangkranta 2017) will be celebrated this year from April 14th to April 16th, in front of Angkor Wat Temple, Bayon Temple, and Elephant Terrace, along the Siem Reap River, in the Angkor Gyeongju area and in Pub Street.
Like most New Year holidays, Khmer New Year is full of tradition and rituals. The three days of celebration each have their own name and associated traditions:
First Day (14th April) – Maha Songkran
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 will clean their houses and illuminate them with candles. Families will place an idol of Buddha on an altar.
Second Day (15th April) – Vanabot
Also known as Virak Wanabat, the second day of 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 also a time for family members to exchange gifts.
Third Day (16th April) – Leang Saka
On the third day of New Year celebrations Buddhists wash and clean statues of Lord Buddha with scented water. This cleaning 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 blessing and good advice for the future.
This year we expect in Siem Reap more than 1.3 million visitors, people from the countryside and foreigners. It’s recommended to go there early to avoid all the traffic jams.
Each year, there is a Guinness world record attempt; two years ago it was for the biggest Cambodian palm leaf hat and last year the biggest nom on som, a Cambodian cake only for special celebrations like Khmer New Year or Pchum Ben. This year’s attempt will be a giant chicken’s nest and a giant chapei dong veng, a traditional two-stringed, long-necked guitar. There is word that there may be other surprises in store too!
At Mulberry Boutique Hotel, you are being at the center of the festivities; five minutes away by walking from the center of Pub Street, where all the partygoers join together, or 10 minutes away by tuktuk for the cambodian traditionnal performance in Angkor Wat. The access to Angkor Wat celebration is free to everyone, but not the access to the temples.
These days are cherished by every cambodian living here, as a moment to share with friends, family and everyone else. An absolutely fantastic experience.