Cambodia - The Best of Local Festivals
Bon Oum Touk or Water Festival
November 7 - 9th, 2022
Water Festival is celebrated in every province, but many Cambodians make a special trip from the provinces to the capital city, Phnom Penh. It is a national three-day holiday, so many Cambodians spend the time celebrating with their families. They go to see the boat racing and some travel around the provinces to see how they celebrate water festivals in different communities.
Victory over Genocide Day
January 7th, 2023
This national holiday is always celebrated annually on January 7th. Also known as Cambodian Victory Day, it marks the end of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979. Commemorating such a dark period in history means this holiday is a solemn affair, with the day marked by remembrance services for those who lost their lives.
Khmer New Year
April 14 - 16th, 2023
The Cambodian New Year, celebrated from April 14 to 16, is also known as the Khmer New Year. This is because the holiday is celebrated with a bang by the Khmer people of Cambodia. This occasion is flooded with celebrations, fireworks, parties, and a lot of fun! And it coincides with the traditional solar new year in several parts of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand.
Visak Bochea or Buddha Birthday
May 4th, 2023
Visak Bochea is the most sacred day in the Buddhist calendar. It is the most important festival of the Buddhists and is celebrated with great enthusiasm. The exact date of Vesak is the first full moon in the fourth month of the lunar calendar. The date varies from year to year in the Gregorian calendar but is typically in May. On Visak Bochea, people dress in white clothes and give out kheer (a rice pudding) as, according to legend, a woman named Sujata once offered Gautam Buddha kheer on his birthday and it has since become a tradition.
Pchum Ben Festival
October 13-15th, 2023
The Cambodian Buddhists believe that every year the souls of their ancestors are released for 15 days. Pchum Ben marks the start of the journey of souls to purgatory, that in-between place that is neither heaven nor hell. The course of their journey will be decided by their karma and by the offerings made by their living relatives during Pchum Ben. This festival begins at the end of the Buddhist Lent. During this time, foods are cooked for the monks to generate merits that will benefit the dead.