Khmer New Year – Chol Chhnam Thmey

Chol Chhnam Thmey or Khmer New Year is the biggest traditional celebration for Khmer people which has celebrated since ancient period. This celebration is celebrated for 3 days over the country during the middle of April every year in solar calendar.

Before New Year coming, each families cleans their house and decorate their house to make it look nice for welcoming the New Year. After cleaning the house, they start to prepare table for parrying. There are seasonal fruit, flower, water, soft drink… for praying to bring them the luck for New Year. The praying is made for whole 3 days and during these 3 days people not only pray at home, they also go to pagoda to offer monk the food.

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Those 3 days is the time to for family’s member, relative, friend, and neighbor gathering together at home either at the public area that have big space enough, like pagoda/temple/school to play multi traditional game such as Chaol Chhoung (throwing a scarf ball), Bas Angkunh (throwing brown seeds), Teanh Prat (Pulling the rope), dancing the traditional dance etc. There are many different game depend on its area, some places not only play transitional game, people also throw​/spare the water at each other, smear baby powder or charcoal powder on the face… At night time, there are some traditional show such as Lakoun, Yike or local concert…show the midnight.

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This celebration is not stick on religion. Khmer people celebrate this festival at the end of the traditional harvest season, as it is a time of leisure for farmers who have worked very hard all year to plant and harvest rice as well as to let neighbor people in each villages has chance to make closer relationship. It is also to remind farmer to prepare crop before rainy season coming in next month.

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