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Updated by Joanna James on Nov 02, 2023
Headline for 10 Most Popular Festivals In Cambodia: An Insight Into Its Rich Culture In 2023!
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10 Most Popular Festivals In Cambodia: An Insight Into Its Rich Culture In 2023!

Celebrate Cambodia's Vibrant Culture

Cambodia is a great country that is rich in history and culture, thus renowned for its vibrant festivals that showcase the heart and soul of its people. Here are the top 10 festivals about which you should know before planning your visit to Cambodia!

1

Khmer New Year (Choul Chnam Thmey)

The Khmer New Year is also known as Choul Chnam Thmey and is one of Cambodia's most significant festivals. Celebrated in the month of April, this celebration marks the end of the harvest season. During this joyous time, Cambodians engage in traditional dance, music, and games. You'll witness people splashing water on each other, symbolising the cleansing of the past year's sins and welcoming a fresh start.

2

Pchum Ben (Ancestors' Day)

Pchum Ben, or Ancestors' Day, is a solemn Buddhist festival held in September or October. Cambodians pay homage to their deceased ancestors by offering food to the monks and making visits to pagodas. The atmosphere is filled with spirituality and respect for ancestors, making it a unique cultural experience.

3

Bon Om Touk (Water Festival)

Bon Om Touk, the Water Festival, is celebrated in November and marks the reversal of the flow of the Tonle Sap River. Phnom Penh, the capital city, comes alive with boat races, illuminated floats, and lively gatherings. This festival commemorates the end of the rainy season and is a time of joy and camaraderie.

4

Royal Ploughing Ceremony (Preah Reach Pithi Chrot Preah Neangkol)

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony, usually held in May, is a royal tradition that predicts the agricultural prospects for the year. Watch as oxen are offered seven different types of food, and their choices are interpreted as predictions. This cultural event offers a unique insight into Cambodia's agricultural heritage.

5

Meak Bochea (Magha Puja)

Meak Bochea, also known as Magha Puja, is an essential Buddhist holiday celebrated in February. Devotees gather at pagodas to pay their respects to Buddha and observe rituals emphasising moral conduct and meditation. It's a serene and spiritual festival that provides a glimpse into Cambodian Buddhism.

6

Angkor Sankranta

Angkor Sankranta is a grand celebration held in April at the historic Angkor Wat temple complex. This festival combines traditional Khmer customs with modern entertainment, featuring dance performances, games, and a captivating light and sound show. It's a fantastic opportunity to explore Cambodia's ancient wonders. This is one of the best things to do in Siem Reap, especially if you are staying at a property such as Anantara Angkor Resort.

7

Sea Festival

Cambodia's Sea Festival, typically held in December, showcases the country's coastal culture. The festival takes place in various coastal towns and features boat races, concerts, and seafood galore. It's a vibrant celebration of Cambodia's coastal heritage and a delightful culinary experience.

8

Chaul Chnam Khmer (Khmer New Year - Chiang Mai)

Chaul Chnam Khmer is another Khmer New Year celebration, but this one takes place in the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Cambodian expatriates and visitors gather to celebrate their culture through traditional music, dance, and cuisine. It's a unique opportunity to experience Cambodian traditions abroad.

9

Independence Day

Cambodia's Independence Day is celebrated on November 9th to mark the country's independence from French colonial rule in 1953. Festivities include parades, fireworks, and cultural performances. Join in the patriotic spirit and learn about Cambodia's history.

10

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is celebrated by Cambodia's Chinese community, and it typically falls in January or February. Streets are adorned with vibrant decorations, and dragon and lion dances are performed. Enjoy the festive atmosphere and indulge in delicious Chinese cuisine.