The Three New Years of Cambodia

Happy Khmer New Year Everyone! :) In Khmer, we say, Suo S’dey Chol Ch’nam T’may – three times in four months. Why? Because Cambodia celebrates three different new years, which is pretty awesome! :)

The first new year is the regular January 1st when pretty much the entire world celebrates. The second is the Chinese New Year and last but not least is the Khmer New Year celebrated in April (save the best to the last right?). It’s celebrated around the 13th or the 14th, which is the end of harvesting season and farmers enjoy the fruits of their labor before the rainy season begins.

Happy Khmer New Year, originally uploaded by coming2cambodia.

Khmer New Year is of course the big one in Cambodia. We get a school holiday and go on a mini vacation (my parents are up in Mt. Bokor at the new resort right now). A lot of Cambodians go to the temple, play new years games and celebrate with lots of yummy food. The Cambodian New Year is usually celebrated in three days with different phases:

  • Maha Songkran: First day of the new year celebration
  • Virak Wanabat: Second day of the new year celebration where people contribute charity to the less fortunate by helping the poor.
  • Tngay Leang Saka: Third day of the new year celebration where buddhists cleanse the Buddha statues and their elders with perfumed water

I haven’t celebrated Khmer New Year in a while and really wanted to go to Lowell for the festival but I couldn’t plan it in time. Anyway, for those of you that are celebrating the Khmer New Year, I hope you have an amazing day + weekend and time with family.

Happy Khmai New Year!

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