Combodian New year 2019 – khmer new year
Khmer New Year is also known as Cambodian New Year is usually a three day public holiday in Cambodia. In Khmer, it is called 'Chaul Chnam Thmey', which means enter the new year. It is based on the traditional solar new year, that was observed in parts of India and Asia. The Khmer new year is marked by the sun entering the sign of Aries the Ram. This particular event was traditionally closely related to the Vernal Equinox.
In ancient times the dates of the sun entering Aries and the Vernal Equinox would have been even closer, but they have shifted due to an effect called procession, where the Earth wobbles on its axis over a 25,000 year period.
Khmer New Year arrives just after the harvest has been gathered and safely stored, which is significant since the majority of the population are still involved in agriculture. In fact, an earlier lunar calendar was abandoned in favour of the present solar-based one in order to ensure the holiday fell just after harvest time and before the rainy season.
Khmer New Year Celebration
- Like most New Year holidays, Khmer New Year is full of tradition and rituals. The three days of celebration each have their own name and associated traditions:
- The celebrations begin on New Year’s Day, but they last for three consecutive days. On the first day of celebration, Cambodians dress in fine clothes, go to family shrines with lit candles and incense to burn, and thank Buddha for his teachings by bowing to the ground to his image three consecutive times. To bring good luck on this day, the Khmer wash their faces with holy water in the morning, wash their chests at noontime, and wash their feet just before going to sleep.
- On the second day, great attention is given to helping the poor through charity. A special dedication ceremony to family ancestors is also attended at a monastery.
- On the third and final day, the images of Buddha are washed in a mixture of water and perfume, which is meant to symbolize the washing away of evil deeds. Elders are also washed in this way, and doing this is thought to bring good luck, happiness, and long life. Good advice is also sought upon washing parents and grandparents in this manner.