Cambodian New Year


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Cambodian New Year (Khmer New Year)

Three days in mid-April (varies according to lunar calendar)
This three-day New Year holiday, also known as Khmer New Year, is a major celebration in Cambodia. The first day is called Moha Sangkran, which means "New Angel." The tradition on this day is for families to welcome the angel who looks after the world in the coming year. To do so, people clean their houses and themselves and prepare a feast of such traditional foods as peanut curries, noodles, and tree mushrooms. Families bring food to offer Buddhist monks and gather for blessing and prayer. Another activity is the building of a small sand "mountain." Each bit of sand that is added is believed to increase the chance for health and happiness in the coming year.
The second day is known as Wanabot or Vana Bat. It is a day of gift giving to parents and other elders or persons worthy of respect. Many people also give gifts of charity on this day and perform acts of community service. More sand is added to the mountain.
The final day is called Loeung Sack. On this day the monks bless the sand mountains. This is also the day for people to wash their Buddha statues, which is thought to be a kind deed that will bring good luck and long life. The bathing also symbolizes hope for sufficient rainfall for the rice harvest. Many people also spray water on each other in a spirit of fun.
Throughout the new year celebration, children and adults gather to dance and play traditional games. Many streets in Cambodia are crowded with celebrants. The holiday often ends with a fireworks display.
CONTACTS:
Royal Embassy of Cambodia
4530 16th St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20011
202-726-7742 or 202-726-8268; fax: 202-726-8381
www.embassyofcambodia.org
Tourism of Cambodia
262 Monivong Blvd.
Khan Daun Penh
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
www.tourismcambodia.com
(c)
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