Cambodian New Year / Khmer New Year

Quick Facts - AU

AKA NameChoul Chnam Thmey
HashtagsCompiled on#KhmerNewYear
Related Hashtags#Cambodia, #Cambodian, #Thai, #TLCNewYear, #CambodianNewYear, #Khmer
2023 Date14 April 2023
Cambodian New Year

Cambodian New Year / Khmer New Year (Start) History

The Cambodian New Year marks the traditional end of the harvest season. Families celebrate as they reap the fruits of their labor. The festivities last three days starting on new year's day. People leave their homes and celebrate together out in the streets. According to legend, a new angel arrives on new year's day. The people have rituals to welcome the angel. There's an angel for each day of the week, depending on when the first day of the year falls. All of the new year angels wear flowers behind their ears and necklaces, carry weapons and ride an animal.

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Cambodian New Year / Khmer New Year Facts

  • Each year, an angel is chosen to represent the Cambodian New Year depending on the day it lands on. In 2023, the holiday occurs on a Friday, so the angel Kemera Devi was chosen. The angel is said to be lead to Earth by a dragon while carrying her father’s head around a mountain, making sure that it doesn’t touch the Earth or sea.
  • Moha Songkran is the first day of celebrations. It marks the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one. On this day, people prepare for the arrival of the new year's angel by cleaning and decorating their homes and themselves. They have gifts for the angels, such as food, which vary depending on the angel.
  • The second day of celebrations is Virak Vanabat. It's a day of giving. People give gifts to their elders and to the young. They also often donate to the poor. There's a tradition to visit religious temples to build mounds of sand, which are believed to bring longevity and prosperity.
  • Tanai Lieang Saka is the third day of celebrations and it means new beginning. People visit the temple to be blessed by the monks. The young throw baby powder and flour at each other. They also wash their grandparents and parents and receive from them good wishes and advice for the new year. It is a day to visit family members, even for those that work far away from them.

Cambodian New Year / Khmer New Year (Start) Top Events and Things to Do

  • Donate to the poor.
  • Visit family members you haven't seen in a while.
  • Watch the 1984 movie The Killing Fields. It is set during the Cambodian genocide, which killed around 1.5 to 3 million people. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning three of them.

Cambodian New Year's Day References and Related Sites Khmer New Year

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