Wat Phnom to Host Phnom Penh’s Khmer New Year

People celebrate the Sankranta festival, or the Khmer New Year, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, April 15, 2023. Cambodia kicked off the three-day Sankranta festival, or the Khmer New Year celebration on April 14. Photo by Ly Lay/Xinhua

PHNOM PENH – A four-day Khmer New Year celebration will be organized at Phnom Penh historical site Wat Phnom with a wide range of activities for residents.

Other provinces are expected to hold the same event, one of the most important and biggest traditional ceremonies, from Apr. 13 to 16. 

Phnom Penh Administration will hold the event at Wat Phnom, the venue for previous celebrations. 

The ceremony to welcome the new angel who will protect the world will be held on Apr. 13 at 10.17pm. Religious activities will include a Buddha statue parade and Buddha bathing ceremony.

Throughout the four days, people will enjoy performing arts, traditional dance, folk games — tug of war, bos ang kunh (throwing box bean), hitting pot — and exhibitions of ancient paintings and cultural artifacts.

Water splashing, which has gained popularity among young people in recent years, be allowed only at Wat Phnom, the administration said.

Authorities have also prohibited gambling and throwing colored, dirty water and water in plastic bags, using charcoal or powder on people traveling on the road as it can lead to accidents.

Import, distribution, purchase and sale of fireworks and all kinds of explosives that can startle people, affect the order and safety of citizens and travelers are also prohibited.

Provinces across the country will organize their own events. Battambang, Prey Veng and Kampong Speu have announced similar activities.

Prey Veng will hold the events over five days, starting from Apr. 12. 

Meanwhile, the Tourism Ministry has instructed Phnom Penh, Preah Sihanouk and Siem Reap to arrange “trot dances” at the airports to welcome passengers arriving in the country. 

Trot is a popular Cambodian folk dance that is usually performed during Khmer New Year to ward off bad spirits and bring in abundance and rain for the crops in the months to come.

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