Chinese New Year (January/February)
Due to cultural influence of China and the large Chinese population in Cambodia, the Chinese New Year is widely celebrated, especially in Phnom Penh.
Khmer New Year (Mid-April)
Celebrating the turn of the year - according to ancient Khmer calendar - and the end of the harvest season, this three-day festival is one of the main events of the year. All over the country the decorated Wats and temples are extremely busy and the streets are filled with happy people singing, dancing and playing traditional games.
Royal Ploughing Day (May)
Celebrated at the beginning of the rainy season, Royal Ploughing Day marks the beginning of the planting of rice. A ceremonial furrow is ploughed in the park in front of the Phnom Penh National Museum and the sacred cows are offered selected foods to eat. The fortune tellers then predict the outcome of the following year based on the appetite of the cows. At this festival, both men and women wear brightly colored traditional Khmer costumes.
King Sihamoni's Birthday (13 to 15 May)
During King Norodom Sihamoni's Birthday, the Royal Palace is opened to the public. In the evening, crowds gather at the riverside to witness a grand fireworks display.
Pchum Ben (September/October)
Cambodians believe that the souls of living creatures are reincarnated when they die. However, some souls will be trapped in the spirit world due to bad karma in their life. Pchum Ben or the Festival of the Dead is a period of fifteen days when souls are released so that they can search for their living relatives. The living offer these souls food, meditation and prayer, in order to reduce their bad karma and to enable them to be reincarnated.
Water Festival (October/November)
Beginning from the last full moon of October/early November, the population of Phnom Penh is doubled. People all over the country come to the capital to celebrate the three-day Water Festival. This festival marks the change of the flow of the Tonle Sap river. During this time the Tonle Sap begins to flow back towards the sea. This event is celebrated with a boat race on the river and with impressive fireworks.
Independence Day (9 November )
On 9 November 1953, Cambodia gained independence from France. Celebrations include a parade in front of the Royal Palace.
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