What are the typical activities that happen before and during Khmer New Year? A few days before the New Year’s arrival, people normally clean their house and buy fruits and other things needed to prepare to welcome the new angel. On Moha Sangkran day, people welcome the new angel by making offerings (as in figure 1). On Wanabot day, some people offer charity by helping the poor, servants and homeless and/or some go to monasteries to pay respect to their ancestors and offer food to the monks. On Leung Sak day, some people clean their statue of Buddha with scented water or wash the feet of their elders to get blessings in return. In brief, those activities are done as a means of receiving prosperity and blessings for life.
During this occasion, students and business professionals in both the private and public sector are entitled to some days off. Some business people also close their shops or companies to celebrate this festival with their families. The city usually becomes quieter during this time. It is busier and full of fun in the provinces as people travel to their hometowns for family gatherings in the provinces. Some spend their holiday in the resorts outside of the city. Also, at some pagodas, especially those in the rural areas, people play Khmer New Year traditional games, for example, Bos Ongkunh Leak Konsaeng (Hiding the scarf ), Teagn Prot, Joal Chhoung and Veay Ka-orm (See figure 2). What’s more, in some villages, the villagers throw parties and do Khmer dancing together with their families and neighbors.
Last but not least, expressing greetings during this occasion is both important and meaningful. What people normally wish each other on this auspicious occasion is “Happy New Year”: “soo-a s’day ch’num t’mey” in Khmer. Also, they may say “I wish you a good luck”: “k’nyom choun-por nay-uk oay mee-an som-naang laa-or”, “I wish you a good health”: “k’nyom chounpor nay-uk oay mee-an sok-khak-phee-ap laa-or”.
Hopefully, you have found this article helpful. To get more insights about Khmer New Year, please refer to the following reference links:
Written by: Pisey CHAN, Language and Cultural Specialist of Making It Easy