06 November 2014

Water Festival in Cambodia. 5-7 November 2014

Water Festival in Cambodia is celebrated every year, on the full moon of the Buddhist month of Kadeuk (usually in November).  It lasts three days
  filled with traditional boat races, fireworks, parties and illuminated flower compositions (Loy Pratip) floating in the rivers. Marking the end of the rainy season, Water Festival is one of the most important Khmer holidays. This year’s  celebration is very special – the Festival is officially back in the calendar for the first time since 2010 tragedy, when a bridge in Phnom Penh collapsed under the weight of spectators and took lives of over 300 people.

One of the major events of the festival is Bon Om Touk - boat races. 
Boat crews train for weeks before the festival. For the first two days, races are run with two boats each. On the last day all the boats take to the river to compete. During the holiday river banks are filled with thousands of people. It is a family holiday, and many young people come to their hometowns to celebrate it with their parents. In the evenings locals and guests of Cambodia enjoy street performances and great Cambodian food. Traditional festival dish is called Auk Ambok – rice with coconut and banana. For this dish rice is fried with the husk, and then pounded with a giant pestle to remove the husks.

Water Festival commemorates traditional Khmer dependence on the waters of Tonle Sap river. For centuries it has been providing Cambodia with food, water, shelter and transportation routes. It is a very happy holiday with music, fireworks, tasty food and family gatherings. If you are in Cambodia during the festival – don’t miss going down to the river, letting your Loy Pratip to float and making a wish. Who knows, maybe river goddess with hear it?

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