September

Bun Pchum Ben - Ancestor's Day Festival

8/22/2013


This is always celebrated in September and is one of the biggest holidays in Cambodia. The fifteenth day, of the tenth month, of the Khmer Buddhist calendar marks the Pchum Ben festival. This is a time when the spirits of dead ancestors come back to the earth, and the living can ease their suffering by offering them food to eat.

At four in the morning, nearly all of the residents of Phnom Penh gather at various temples with offerings of rice, which they toss on the ground, feeding the dead ancestors. It seems that some of the spirits have small mouths, so they have to use special rice. Many of the people throw sticky rice, which, apparently is easier for the spirits to eatAccording to Buddhist beliefs, our lives after death, are determined by the actions that we took when we were living. Minor infractions would be punished with small punishments, such as being an unattractive spirit, or having a small mouth. With a small mouth, it is hard to eat.
The Buddhist religion is such an integral part of the Khmer culture that political upheaval, economic crisis, the spread of foreign religions, or the intervention of modern society cannot shake the fundamental beliefs. Although many aspects of Khmer culture were lost during the Khmer Rouge Regime, Cambodians have managed to maintain their religious devotion, and their family-centered way of life