Khmer New Year

Published: 2021-08-12 11:45:05
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Category: Culture

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Maha Songkran, is the name of the first day of the new year celebration. It is believed that on this day God’s angels come to earth to take care of its creation. To welcome these holy angels, every family prepares a lot of good things to welcome new god, farewell the old god. On the altar, they present 5 flower branches, 5 candles, 5 incense, 5 cereal seeds, a bowl of scented water, eatables, drinks and fruit crops. They pray for health and luck in the New Year. This is the first day of calendar procession ceremony. Major activities are bathing, dressing nice, bringing sacrifice gifts to the pagoda in good time which has been selected.
Virak Wanabat is the name of the second day of the New Year celebration. People contribute charity to the less fortunate by helping the poor, servants, homeless, and low-income families. Families attend a dedication ceremony to their ancestors at the monastery. In the evening of this day many Cambodians will go to the pagoda and build a mountain of sand to remember their ancestors who have passed away and have the monks give them blessings of happiness and peace. T’ngai Leang Sakk is the name of the third day of the New Year celebration.
Buddhists cleanse the Buddha statues and their elders with perfumed water. Bathing the Buddha images is the symbol that water will be needed for all kinds of plants and lives. It is also thought to be a kind deed that will bring longevity, good luck, happiness and prosperity in life. By bathing their grandparents and parents, children can obtain from them best wishes and good advice for the future. On New Year day, Cambodians also played our Traditional games. Chol Chhoung, a game played especially on the first nightfall of the Khmer New Year by two groups of boys and girls.
Ten or 20 people comprise each group, standing in two rows opposite each other. One group throws the “chhoung” to the other group. When it is caught, it will be rapidly thrown back to the first group. If someone is hit by the “chhoung,” the whole group must dance to get the “chhoung” back while the other group sings to the dance. Chab Kon Kleng, A game played by imitating a hen as she protects her chicks from a crow. Participants usually appoint a strong player to play the hen who protects “her” chicks, while another person is picked to be the “crow”.
While both sides sing a song of bargaining, the crow tries to catch as many chicks as possible as they hide behind the hen. Leak Kanseng, A game played by a group of people sitting in a circle. Someone holding a “kanseng” that is twisted into a round shape walks around the circle while singing a song. The person walking secretly tries to place the “kanseng” behind one of the people. If that chosen person realizes what is happening, he or she must pick up the “kanseng” and beat the person sitting next to him or her. Bos Angkunh, this game is played by the groups of boys and girls.
The groups take the Angkunh, which are now called kery for the purpose of the game, and place three to five on the ground. These are called the “planting kery”. Each group then takes more of the Angkunh and throws these “hitting kery” at the planting kery, trying to hit them. The group that hits the least planting kerys loses, and the other team then gets to hit them on the knee with kerys. There are two ways of doing this. Bai trachheak (cold rice) means the winner puts one kery on the opponent’s knee and hits with another one.
Bai kdav means they put two kerys together as before but harder so it makes a cracking sound. If no sound is created, the person being hit is allowed to do the same back to the person who has failed to produce the sound. In Conclusion, New Year is the most perfect time for Cambodian, it can entertain people to relax their mind from a whole year of stressful tasks. All of family’s members or relative also meet each other during this time, they can enjoy the happiest all together. The Khmer New Year is not only a great festival it is also an opportunity to pass on

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