Khmer New Year

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Khmer New Year
Khmer New Year

Overview

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 13th or can be on April 14th, depending on the “MohaSangkran,” which is the ancient horoscope.

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The New Year of Cambodia

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.

The Angkor Era
The Angkor Era

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.

Khmer farmers have the time to take vacation
Khmer farmers have the time to take vacation

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.