Hello! My name is Reaksmey Mao. I am a scholarship student at Build Bright University supported by JWOC. I would like to tell you about Khmer New Year, but before describing to you the activities during Khmer New Year, I want to tell you the definition of Khmer New Year.
“Khmer New Year” is the name of the Cambodian holiday that celebrates the New Year. The holiday lasts for three days beginning on New Year’s Day, which usually falls on April 13 or 14th, which signals the end of the harvesting season, when farmers enjoy the fruits of their labor before the rainy season begins. Khmers living abroad may choose to celebrate during a weekend rather than just specifically April 13th -15th. The Khmer New Year coincides with the traditional solar new year in several parts of India, Myanmar, Thailand and SriLanka.
Cambodians also use Buddhist Era to count the year based on the Buddhist calendar. For 2014 it is 2558 BE (Buddhist Era).
Every year, I always go to my hometown to enjoy the time spent with my family, relatives and all my friends and neighbors. I am really happy every time that I go home for either festivals, Khmer New Year or Pchum Ben. In Khmer New Year, we dress up and light candles and burn incense sticks at shrines, where the members of my family pay homage and offer thanks for the Buddha’s teachings by bowing, kneeling and prostrating ourselves three times. For good luck we wash our face with holy water in the morning, our chests at noon, and our feet in the evening before we go to bed.
During the day, all temples and some houses play traditional games such as: CholChhoung, ChabKonKhleng, BosAngkunh, Leak Kanseng, Bay Khom, and Traditional Khmer music for dancing. I always play these popular games every year, because every game makes me feel happy, and it’s always quality time spent with friends from my homeland.
Khmer New Year is an opportunity for all Cambodia to unite and for foreign friends to receive unforgettable and special experiences if they visit Cambodia at this time.
As a scholarship student at JWOC I want to speak on behalf on all of the other students. Thank you to everyone who has supported us through higher education and we wish you all the best of luck, happiness, health, success with your work and studies, Happy Khmer New Year.