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Water Festival Not All Smooth Sailing

November 22, 2010 Leave a comment

An 8-year-old boy drowned on the first day of the Water Festival, while five boats were sunk after the first two days of races, leaving two competitors injured.

According to witness accounts reported to police, the boy was trying to collect bottles and empty cans that had been discarded at the Tonle Sap river’s edge on Saturday, when he was swept away by the river’s current and then submerged under the Royal Palace’s boat.

Phnom Penh deputy police chief Pen Rath said authorities were still searching for the victim’s body.

“He disappeared on Saturday about noon near the Royal Palace’s parade, at the Water Festival ceremony, while he was swimming to collect the empty bottles and cans for sale,” he said.

He says the Water Festival attracts at least 100 children who swim in the river to collect rubbish for money every year, and that the police “have to prevent them from entry into the sites”.

He added that this year more police have been stationed along the river to prevent children from entering the water.

Meanwhile, five boats were sunk on the first two days of racing – two from a crash, and three from capsizing – which resulted in two injuries, one of which authorities said was serious.

Source: Phnom Penh Post

Categories: Festival

Boat races kick off Cambodian Water Festival

November 20, 2010 Leave a comment

PHNOM PENH, Nov 20, 2010 (AFP) – Crowds thronged a Phnom Penh lake on Saturday as Cambodia began its annual Water Festival celebrations with colourful dragon boat races.

More than two million visitors from across the country are expected to flock to the capital for three days of festivities, with boat races on the Tonle Sap lake, fireworks and parades.
This year 420 brightly coloured boats, with nearly 28,000 rowers, are lined up to take part, according to an official from the Committee for National and International Festivals.
Categories: Festival

Cambodia Water And Moon Festival

November 19, 2010 1 comment

Night view during Water and Moon Festival in Cambodia

For the people of Cambodia, the water Festival (The pirogue Racing Festival) in Phnom Penh is the most magnificent traditional festival. For three days Phnom Penh citizens, foreign tourists and peasants from various provinces gather in the capital to celebrate festival night day.

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Categories: Festival

Cambodia Celebrates 57th Anniversary of Independence Day

November 9, 2010 Leave a comment
Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni, center, claps altogether with Prime Minister Hun Sen, right, and Heng Samrin, second left, National Assembly President, during the Independence Day celebration at the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010. King Sihamoni is jointed by thousand of civil servants and students to mark the country's 57th Independence Day from France, Nov. 9, 1953. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
Cambodia on Tuesday kicked off its three-day celebration of the 57th anniversary of Independence Day in capital Phnom Penh with about 20,000 people from all walks of life attended the ceremony. King Norodom Sihamoni laid a wreath and ignited the torch inside the Independence Monument to symbolize the country’s independence from colonial rule. The torch lit by the King will burn for the duration of three days and be distinguished Thursday afternoon.
Categories: Festival

A History of Pchum Ben Festival

September 25, 2010 Leave a comment
WHAT does Pchum Ben Festival mean in Buddhism? In the Khmer language, Pchum or Brochum means “a meeting or gathering”. Ben means “a ball of something”, such as rice or meat. The Pchum Ben festival originated in the Angkorian era when people followed animism, before Brahma or Buddhism

Both Buddhism and animism reflect Khmer respect and remembrance for their ancestors.
Pchum Ben is also a convenient way for Buddhist monks to receive food during the heaviest part of the rainy season while they stay in the pagodas to follow their moral principles.

Celebrations
The first 14 days of the Khmer month Pheakta Bot are called Kan Ben (“observed celebration”). The 15th day is called Brochum Ben or Pchum Ben Day. During Kan Ben, people give Buddhist monks gifts of food and candles. At night Buddhist monks recite a protective prayer. Cambodian artists play traditional music such as yike and lakhon basac. Pchum Ben Day is the biggest celebration. Villagers come from all around to prepare the pagoda of their village the night before the celebration. Pchum Ben is when the villagers gather to celebrate in their villages.

Scriptures
The scriptures relating to the festival are complex, but the first scripture involves the five Buddhas negotiating with hungry ghosts. In the second scripture, from Pet Vuto (Monks’ Governor), the King’s servants and soldiers were commanded to make war. On the ship at night, they met ghosts who were hungry. The servants and soldiers asked: “How can we get food to you?” The ghosts said: “You can offer the food to the person among you who has the five moral conducts or eight moral conducts, and invoke our names.” The third and fourth scriptures say that in the first 15 days of Pheakta Both, the heaviest rainy period, the devil releases the ghosts to find their relatives to receive food.

Ghosts
There are four kinds of ghosts: those eating pus and blood, burning ghosts who are always hot, hungery ghosts and the Pakrakteaktopak Chivi, who can receive food through the monks. The others cannot receive food from their relatives until their sins are reduced to the level of Pakrakteaktopak Chivi.

What is bay ben?
Bay ben (balls of rice) are offered to ghosts at dawn. People believe ghosts with heavy sins cannot receive food during the day. Bay ben is made from sticky rice and sesame. Sometimes people add coconut cream to make it more delicious. Buddhist Institute consultant Miech Ponn said he thinks bay ben should be put on a plate. “Getting rice to the poor, people also can get more merit than only giving it to ants,” Miech Ponn said.

Categories: Festival