Khmer New Year


Lasting three full days in mid-April (13 - 16 April), Khmer New Year is, arguably, the most popular festival and national holiday in Cambodia. Khmer New Year, or Chol Chnam Thmey as it is called in Khmer, coincides with the end of the harvesting season so farmers celebrate the New Year with their families and enjoy some relaxation before the rainy season starts again.

Shadow Puppet Performance
Shadow Puppetry is a traditional art form also performed during Khmer New Year

The Khmer New Year Day, called “Bon Chol Chhnam Thmei Khmer” in the Khmer language, is celebrated on 13 April in keeping with the Cambodian lunar calendar. The New Year holidays last for three days. This festival marks the end of the harvest season when Cambodian farmers enjoy the fruits of their labor and relax before the start of the rainy season.
People travel from near and far to meet with their families, visiting the temples and celebrations are widespread all over the country. Streets are often packed with people enjoying some time with their friends and families and you will also see traditional games and dances.
The throwing of water is also a notable feature this special time of year and, although it has been limited in the main tourist areas, it's still widespread in the countryside and rural areas.