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What khmer people do during Khmer new year?

Written By vibykhmer on Saturday, April 11, 2009 | 11:45 PM

April 13,14,15th 2009
http://www.angkorguides.com/images/khmer-new-year-fruit.jpg
Cambodian New Year or Chaul Chnam Thmey in the Khmer language is the name of the Cambodian holiday that celebrates the New Year. The holiday lasts for three days, most commonly, from April 13th to 15th, although Khmer living in other countries may change the dates so as to celebrate on the weekend. Sometimes the holiday falls between the 14th to 16th of April.
This time of the year represents the end of the harvesting season. The farmers enjoy the fruits of their harvest and relax before the rainy season begins.People in the world always say New Year celebrate their happy festival. They usually schedule and prepare it differently, depend on their belief and tradition. For Cambodian have hold it since past till the present.
The reason that cause to finish the old year for the are that: There have been some people believe that there is a story as following one time there were a person "KABEL MORHAPROHM" who asked three questions to "THORM BAL KOMA, the millionaire's on, who had known the three percepts of "TRAI VITH" and ail kinds of the animal's languages.

They all had promised to cut the head of the person who failed the exam "THORM BAL" have no way to find the solution, he felled very hopeless, fortunately, there were two eagles which had spoken about these questions to make "THORM BAL" could find the way to settle the problems. The time of gambling arrived "THORM BAL " had spoken that:
1. In the morning, the happiness is on the face that is why all people have to wash their face.

2. In the afternoon, the happiness is on the breath to make the people take water to wash the breath.

3. In the evening, the happiness is on the foot to make the people wash their food in the evening.
The result had broken out "KABEL MORHAPROHM" had to cut his head to give to the oldest had take it go around PRAS SOMERU mountain about 60 minutes after they all bring it to put in the center of KUHA KUNTH MALAY of KAILA mountain.
In the end of the year the 7 females angles had changed their turn to take the head and go around the mountain every year till the present. This is the reason to cause "SANG KRAN" or changing the old year into the New Year. Some people have believed that for a period of one year the people always face the problems like diseases or serious obstacles to make them unhappy.
When the one of the year they all had celebrated a great festival called "HAPPY NEW YEAR" and the people always prepare them-self, clean the house, and take food to offer the monks. Cambodian people are playing the Chaul Choung game in New Year Day. They wear new clothes and play popular games. The festival usually is in 3 days period.
The first day is Moha Sangkran
Moha Songkran 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.
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 second day is Vanabat

Vanabat is the name of the second day of the New Year celebration. People contribute charity to the less fortunate, help the poor, servants, homeless people, and low-income families. Families attend a dedication ceremony to their ancestors at the monastery.

And the third day is THNGAI LAEUNG SAKA

Tngai Laeung saka is the name of the third day of the New Year celebration. Buddhist cleanse the Buddha statues and elders with perfumed water. Bathing the Buddha images is the symbol that water will be needed for all kinds of plants and lives.
It is also thought to be a kind deed that will bring longevity, good luck, happiness and prosperity in life. By bathing their grandparents and parents, children can obtain from them best wishes and good advice for the future.

New Year Traditions

In temples, people erect a sand hillock on temple grounds. They mound up a big pointed hill of sand or dome in the center which represents Culamuni Cetiya, the stupa at Tavatimsa, where the Buddha's hair and diadem are buried.
The big stupa is surrounded by four small ones, which represent the stupas of the Buddha's favorite disciples which are Sariputta, Moggallana, Ananda, and Maha Kassapa. There is another tradition, that is pouring water or plaster on someone.

For that time they start to change the old year when the angle comes to get the duties from the former angle were schedule clearly. WHEN IS THE KHMER NEW YEAR'S DAY CELEBRATED?

Since the period of Norkor Thom, the Khmer people used the Lunar calendar (The revolution of the moon), that why they dated Mekseh (name of the first lunar month, from mid-November to mid-December) as the Khmer New Year's month, and is the first month of the year. And Kadek (name of the last Lunar month) is the second one.

After that, they turned to use the Solar calendar (The revolution of the sun) as the most, and they dated the Chetr (5th Lunar month) is the New Year's month, when the sun gets to the Mes Reasey. The Khmer New Year's day is often celebrated on the 13th April (Chetr), but sometime it is celebrated on the 14th April, because of the Solar calendar.

The almanac which is base on the Solar calendar is called "Simple arrival or Sangkran Thormada. And the almanac which is based on the Lunar calendar, because the Lunar calendar is relevant to the Buddha's speeches. Beside, the Khmer New Year's day that is base on the Lunar calendar isn't regular, because we sometimes celebrate it in the night of the waxing moon (Khneut), or in the night of the waning moon. However, we usually celebrate it around one month.

Buddhist devotees pour water over the statue of a revered Buddhist monk during the New Year Celebrations. It means that we don't do it before 4th Keut of Khe Pisak (name of the Solar day) of Khe Chetr and not after 4th Keut of Khe Pisak (name of the 6th Lunar month), so that some of the Khmer people celebrate their New Year's day in Khe Chetr, such as the documents written by Mr. Chio-Takran, Khmer people celebrate this celebration with playing the hand-scarf-throwing game and they gather the statues of Buddha from everywhere to bath. In the other hand, the inscription in stone at Preah Khan is also stated this. Talking about there celebrations in this New Year's Day. The Khmer people celebrate them traditionally as below. A few days before the Khmer New Year's day, they prepared some food, clean their house, bought some news and so on.

When the New Year's Day comes, they prepare something such as 5 candles, 5 incenses, a pair of 5 Baysey, a pair of Baysey Baklam, a pair of Slathor (a ceremonial ornament made with a banana tree trunk bake), a tray of cigarettes, some flowers and some fruits to sacrifice to the new heaven. When every is ready, they sit together near that place and light the candles to pray for happiness from the new heaven and start to pray before breaking each other. On the other hand, we have different celebrations during these 3 days of New Year's Day.
On the first day, they take some food to offer the monks at the monastery in the evening, they gather the sand to build up a sandal mountain around the pagoda or around the bany tree in the early evening, and they some drink to the monks and invite them to bany.
On the second day, children give some new clothes and money to their parents and grandparents. They also give some gift to their maids and poor people. In the evening, they go to build up the sandal mountain and start to bany that they consider it a Cholamony Chedey and ask the monks to bony and offer them the food to dedicate this sin to the spirit of the ancestor.
In the morning of the third day, they also invite the monks to bany for the sandal mountain. And in the evening, they bath the monks and statue of Buddha.During this third day, the people also play some traditional games such as the hand-scarf-throwing game, they kick the nuts game, the tug of war game, trot dancing (Battambang, Siem Reap). They also dance some traditional dancing such as Rorm Vong, Rorm Khbach?. etc...

Khmer games

Cambodia is home to a variety of games played to transform the dullest days into a memorable occasion. Through-out the Khmer New Year, street corners often are crowded with friends and families enjoying a break from routine, filling their free time dancing and play. Typically Khmer games help maintain one's mental and physical dexterity. The body's blood pressure, muscle system and brain all are challenged and strengthened in the name of fun.



1. "Tres"

A game played by throwing and catching a ball with one hand while trying to catch an increasing number of sticks with the other hand. Usually, pens or chopsticks are used as the sticks to be caught.



2. "Chol Chhoung"

A game played especially on the first nightfall of the Khmer New Year by two groups of boys and girls. Ten or 20 people comprise each group, standing in two rows opposite each other. One group throws the "chhoung" to the other group. When it is caught, it will be rapidly thrown back to the first group. If someone is hit by the "chhoung," the whole group must dance to get the "chhoung" back while the other group sings.



3. "Chab Kon Kleng"

A game played by imitating a hen as she protects her chicks from a crow. Adults typically play this game on the night of the first New Year's day. Participants usually appoint a person with a strong build to play the hen leading many chicks. Another person is picked to be the crow. While both sides sing a song of bargaining, the crow tries to catch as many chicks as possible as they hide behind the hen.



4. "Bos Angkunh"

A game played by two groups of boys and girls. Each group throws their own "angkunh" to hit the master "angkunhs," which belong to the other group and are placed on the ground. The winners must knock the knee of the losers with the "angkunh." "Angkunh" is the name of an inedible fruit seed, which looks like the knee bone.



5. "Leak Kanseng"

A game played by a group of children sitting in circle. Someone holding a "Kanseng" (Cambodian towel) twisted into a round shape walks around the circle while singing a song. The person walking secretly tries to place the "Kanseng" behind one of the children. If that chosen child realizes what is happening, he or she must pick up the "kanseng" and beat the person sitting next to him or her.



6. "Bay Khom"
A game played by two children in rural or urban areas during their free time. Ten holes are dug in the shape of an oval into a board in the ground. The game is played with 42 small beads, stones or fruit seeds. Before starting the game, five beads are put into each of the two holes located at the tip of the board. Four beads are placed in each of the remaining eight holes.

The first player takes all the beads from any hole and drops them one by one in the other holes. He or she must repeat this process until they have dropped the last bead into a hole lying beside an empty one. Then they must take all the beads in the hole that follows the empty one. At this point, the second player begins to play. The game ends when all the holes are empty. The player with the greatest number of beads wins the game.



"Klah Klok"
A game played by Cambodians of all ages. It is a gambling game that is fun for all ages. There is a mat & dice. You put money on the object that you believe the person rolling the dice (which is usually shaken in a bowl type) and you wait. If the objects face up on the dice are the same as the objects you put money on. You double it. If there are two of yours you triple, and so on. This game is the most fun of Khmer new years.

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