Cambodian New Year gets cancelled in a move even the grinch would flinch at.
Cambodian New Year, or as the locals call it Khmer New Year, which takes place from April 14th – 16th, has mostly been cancelled due to the giant elephant in the room that is coronavirus!
During Khmer New Year, migrant workers return home to their families, party for three days and then go back to work. Sadly this year definitely democratic Prime-Minister Hun Sen has banned provincial travel, told people not to congregate, and has basically said they need to stay at work.
In Cambodia, Khmer New Year is a bit like Christmas and New Year combined, and the three day holiday is the most important one in the calendar, making cancelling it a bit of a kick in the nuts.
The three-day jamboree also sounds like a massive laugh.
On day one (mahasangkram), which is the actual new year, people wear new clothes and symbolically wash themselves with holy water. Sounds a bit shit, right? Well as well as that, there also literally loads of water fights, which I can very much get down with!
Day two, or as the locals call it Virak Vanabat. On this day people pay respects at shrines and give money to the poor. Again sounds a bit shit right? Well, according to my Khmer friend, day 2 is basically one long piss-up in your house where you can eat whatever you want. I am also a big fan of day 2.
Day three, or again to give it is correct nomenclature Vearek Loeng Sak is probably the weirdest day of this jamboree. On this day, you go and wash Buddha, now whilst not a Buddhist I’m fine with this, but you also go to wash the feet of your elderly relatives. Sounds a bit shit again right? Alas, I have nothing to follow on this one.
Although if washing old people’s feet is your thing, why not, live and let live, and most importantly, happy Khmer New Year.
Happy Khmer New Year, everyone!