Celebrations and Holidays


January or February - Chinese and Vietnamese New Year; it is celebrated principally by the Chinese and Vietnamese minorities, but cause for many shops to be closed. The celebration is flexible in date as it is determined by the lunar calendar.

January - Commemoration Day of the last sermon of the Buddha; date determined by the lunar calendar.

January 7 - national holiday in commemoration of the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979.

March 8 - Women's Day; national holiday with parades.

April - Chaul Chhnam; traditional Cambodian New Year, equalling Songkran in Thailand; the celebrations last for three days during which Cambodians douse each other liberally with water; exact date determined by the lunar calendar.

April- Visak Bauchea; commemoration of the birth and the first sermon of the Buddha; exact date determined by the lunar calendar.

April 17 - Independence Day; national holiday in commemoration of the fall of the Lon Nol dictatorship on April 17, 1975.

May 1- Labour Day

June 19 - Memorial Day of the founding of the revolutionary forces of Cambodia in 1951; parades in Phnom Penh.

June 28 - Memorial Day of the founding of the Revolutionary People's Party of Cambodia in 1951; parades and celebrations in Phnom Penh.

July - beginning of the Buddhist Lent; the exact date depends on the lunar calendar. The day is preferred by Cambodian and Buddhist men of neighbouring countries for becoming monks, mostly on a temporary basis.

September - the day of the final celebrations of the Buddhist Lent; exact date determined by the lunar calendar.

September - Prachum Ben; a kind of Cambodian All-Saints-Day in commemoration of the dead and ancestors; exact date determined by the lunar calendar.

October and November - Water Festival; this festival celebrates the turn of the current of the Tonle Sap river. The Tonle Sap river connects lake Tonle Sap with the Mekong. For most of the time the river flows from lake Tonle Sap into the Mekong. However, during the rainy season from about June to October the Mekong carries a high water level, and in response the Tonle Sap river flows in reverse direction, from the Mekong back into lake Tonle Sap. This causes lake Tonle Sap to swell to more than twice its regular size. At the end of the rainy season, when the water level of the Mekong drops again, the current reverts and the water added to lake Tonle Sap during the rainy season flows back into the Mekong.

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