PCHUM BEN September-October (October 06&07, 2018)
October is the month when Cambodian people celebrate the festival of Pchum Ben. Pchum Ben is the most important festival in the Khmer religious calendar. Cambodians have faithfully observed the festival every year. The word 'Ben' in Khmer means to collect; 'Ben' also means to cup or mold cooked rice into portions. To 'Ben Baht' means to collect food to give to monks. The word 'Pchum' means to congregate or to meet together. Cambodian people try not to miss a visit to the pagoda to dedicate food and offerings to the dead. By doing this, Cambodians show respect for their ancestors. Everyone goes to the pagoda every year to honor this tradition.The beliefs behind the Pchum Ben festival, souls and spirits come to receive offerings from their living relatives. Pchum Ben is the period when those spirits receive offerings from their living relatives and perhaps gain some relief. Relatives consecrate and dedicate food and other offerings to them. Everyone goes to the pagoda because they don't want the spirits of dead family members to come to seek offerings at pagodas in vain. It is believed that wondering spirits will go look for their living relatives in seven different pagodas. Spirit could not accept food offered by other people, except Buddhist Monk.
KATHEN FESTIVAL (ROBES) October-November (November 3, 4, 2018)
A colorful parade offering robes ceremony a the end of 3 months period of merit- making of monk's retreat. A special praying ceremony to Buddha and gifts presentation to the monks for preserving faith. This offering ceremony of new saffron robes t the monks is particularly meritorious and important. Gift giving is an act of appreciation and gratitude to the monks. The donation are vividly arrange on a "money tree" which will be paraded to the temple led by drummers and musicians.
KHMER NEWYEAR APRIL 13-APRIL16 (April 13,14,15 2019)
Khmer New Year Celebration is the gathering of Buddhist Followers where everyone come together to pay respect to the Triple Gem, to receive the five precepts, to chant the great Paritta, to offer alms into alms bowls. These religious ritual ceremonies include offering food to the Buddhist Monks, receiving blessing from the monks and priests, and listening to special sermon. Moha Sangkran Buddhism is the first day of New Year; this is the day where followers pay tributes the Buddha teaching. Vireak Vanabat is the second day of New Year celebration. People contribute money, offer food and clothing to local charities for good karma and receive blessings. Families often attend a dedication ceremony to their ancestors at monasteries. Tngai Loeng Sak is the third day of the New Year celebration. On this day, Buddhist followers take Buddha statues from their homes to participate in the bathing ceremony at the temple. Families and friends wash the Buddha statues, monks and their elders with perfumed water and in return, they receive blessings from the monks and elders. Bathing of the Buddha statues and monks is a symbolic practice to wash bad actions away and to bring longevity, good luck, happiness and prosperity in life. By washing their grandparents and parents, the children can obtain best wishes and good advice from them. In addition, Buddhist followers wash their faces with the holly water for good luck. They also build sand hill on the temple ground and decorate the main mound with five religious flags one on the top and four mounds around on the side. These sand hills represent the Buddha's five disciples. Traditionally, Khmer music and games will be playing thorough out the day.