CAMBODIA TO CELEBRATE KHMER NEW YEAR THIS WEEKEND

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia The Cambodian people will celebrate this weekend, from April 14 to 16, their traditional New Year, Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP) reported.

On April 14 at 09.12 am, it marks the end of Buddhist year 2561 BE (Buddhist Era � based on the Lunar Calendar) and the start of New Year 2562, the year of Dog.

Cambodia's traditional New Year, Chaul Chhnam Thmei generally falls in around mid April or the Chet, the fifth month of the Cambodian lunar calendar during which peasants are relieved of their farm work after the dry-season rice harvest.

Three days before new year's eve, houses and pagodas are decorated with flowers, fresh, plastic or paper, with multiform lamps, candles, coloured papers, incense sticks and small paddy or rice mounds (formerly built of sand as a symbol of good harvest) which later will be carried to pagodas as an offering to monks.

On New Year eve, an exorcist rite is held to pray for the happiness and prosperity in the coming year.

Everything is well arranged in advance in each family so that people can be free from kitchen work during the festive days.

During the New Year festival which lasts generally for three days, Cambodians especially the aged, go to pagodas, where usually traditional music is played by an orchestra called Pinpeat, to make offerings to monks and pray for the souls of their ancestors.

Source: NAM News Network