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Cambodian New Year

Cambodian New Year (Khmer: បុណ្យចូលឆ្នាំថ្មី) or Chaul Chnam Thmey in the Khmer language, literally "Enter Year New", is the name of the Cambodian holiday that celebrates the New Year. The holiday lasts for three days beginning on New Year's day, which usually falls on April 13th or 14th, which is the end of the harvesting season, when farmers enjoy the fruits of their labor before the rainy season begins. Khmer's living abroad may choose to celebrate during a weekend rather than just specifically April 13th through 15th. The Khmer New Year coincides with the traditional solar new year in several parts of India, Myanmar and Thailand.

Cambodians also use Buddhist Era to count the year based on the Buddhist calendar. For 2011, it is 2555 BE (Buddhist Era). In Cambodia, Khmer New Year is the greatest traditional festival, and also it is the greatest national holiday because it is three days of festival and sometimes can be four days. Khmer New Year begins on April 14th depending on the "MohaSangkran," which is the ancient horoscope.

In fact, Khmer New Year originally began on the first day of the first month in lunar calendar, which can be in November or the beginning of December.

In the Angkor Era, the 13th Century, the Khmer King, either “Suriyavaraman II” or “Jayavaraman VII”, was the one who changed the New Year to the fifth month of the lunar calendar, in April by the solar calendar. 95% of Khmer population is farmer, and the period from November through March is the busiest season for Khmer farmers to reap or harvest the crops from the rice fields.

Khmer people can find free time in April because there is no rain, and it is very hot, so Khmer farmers have the time to take vacation after they have worked very hard to gather the rice crops from their rice fields to get their income.

Therefore, April is the right time for Khmer in Cambodia to celebrate New Year. The Khmer New Year festival originated from “Bramhmanism”, a part of Hinduism, which was a religion that Khmer believed in before Buddhism. Later on Buddhism became associated with the festival and then took all the important roles in the festivity.

In the evening, to complete the New Year festival, our Khmer people need to perform the last ceremony, called as "Pithi Srang Preah", which means giving a special bath or a special shower to Buddha statues, the monks, elders, parents, grand parents to apologize for any mistake we have done to them and to gratify them.

Every one must have a wonderful time during this ceremony because it is a great opportunity for every one, young and old, man and woman to have much fun by spreading out water to each other. Khmer New Year is not just the great traditional festival for Cambodian, and it can make Cambodian to build up many unforgettable souvenirs.

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The three days of the new year

[pic]Elders cleanse statues of the Buddha with perfumed water.

Maha Songkran (មហាសង្រ្កាន្ត)

Maha Songkran, derived from Sanskrit Maha Sankranti, is the name of the first day of the new year celebration. It is the ending of the year and the beginning of a new one. People dress up and light candles and burn incense sticks at shrines, where the members of each family pay homage to offer thanks for the Buddha's teachings by bowing, kneeling and prostrating themselves three times before his image. For good luck people wash their face with holy water in the morning, their chests at noon, and their feet in the evening before they go to bed.

The first day of New Year (Year 2554 of the Buddhist calendar) is called as “Moha Sangkran”, and it can be described simply as the inauguration of the New Angels who come to take care the world for a one-year period.

This year is the year of Mouse, and “Moha Sangkran” of the New Year will begin on April 14th at 12: 48 PM. The leader of Angels is named “MahaotraDevy”.

People need to clean and decorate the house and also...
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