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Southeast Asia 2011: Cambodian festivals and events

Here are the festivals and events that Narla and Brandon are looking forward to this year. Come over for a visit during one of them!

Any exciting events in your country in 2011? Festivals?  Special occasions?

Cambodia has more holidays than just about anywhere. From International Labor day, Woman’s rights day, Liberation day, to the birthday of the King or his Father, odds are it will be a holiday when you get here or you will have just missed one. But with all the holidays its impossible for Cambodians to make a big deal of them all, but there are three holidays that Cambodians go all out for.

1. The boat races. Each year in November teams go head to head paddling just as they would have during the time of Angkor. The population of Phnom Penh doubles and almost all of them are lined up along the river to watch and cheer the event. If the crowds in Phnom Penh are too much, Siem Reap has races down its small river with smaller boats and smaller crowd sizes. There are still lots of people, especially from the surrounding countryside, that come to enjoy the fun.  This festival will be November 9th to 11th.

Paddling hard to beat the competition in Siem Reap
The competition

2. Cambodian New Year. If you’re here for New Year don’t plan on getting a lot done, as most businesses close. This is the holiday where family gets together, and everyone is either going to a party or holding a party of their own. Despite the government’s efforts to stop it, there is a good chance you will have water thrown on you or powder put on your face; Cambodians believe everyone should be having as much fun as they are during this festival. April 14-16th.

Even Buddha gets washed on Khmer New Year

3. Pchum Ben holiday is not quite the party that New Years or the boat festival is because this holiday is a religious occasion. During Pchum Ben, Cambodians wake up early to get to their local Wat before sunrise and make an offering. If you are interested in Cambodian Buddhism or want to know more about the religion, this is a great time to come. The big ceremony will be celebrated on October 26th to 28th

Families make offerings at a local Wat for their ancestors

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