Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Water Festival

One of the largest festivals of Cambodia revolves around the Tonle Sap. The three-day Water festival of the reversal of the waters of the Great Lake is celebrated in October or November depending on when the waters reverse and flow back into the Mekong River. Boat races, the largest part of the festival, are held at the capital, Phnom Penh. Each village has the opportunity to join in the boat races and usually they do.

The purpose of this race is to make the god of the river happy so that there will be many fish and the rice crop will be plentiful. The Water festival, while celebrating the reversal of the waters, also marks the beginning of the year's fishing season.

Live concerts are held, food stands are set up, and children and adults alike take rides on ferris wheels to celebrate the joy; at night, fireworks light up the sky and people dance in the street.

During the boat races the King sits here to watch.

The Kings Palace.
My cousin, Here Pheach, said it would be way too crowded near the King. As a result we went to the other side of the river and these were where the pictures taken.

They are just practicing. No racing yet... I watched most of the races on TV.
My mom went to check out the festival and she said that there were people everywhere. She told me that there were people sleeping, using the bathroom, and eating all in the same place. Gross...
She said it smelled horrible, but everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

The Water festival also coincides with the full moon of the Buddhist calendar month of Kadeuk. The Cambodians believe that the full moon is a good omen which promises a bountiful harvest. On this night, people gather to give thanks to the moon and to pray for the upcoming season. Special food is prepared for this occasion that includes fruits, vegetables and Ambok-a Cambodian specialty. Worshippers light candles and burn incest while offerings are given. The chief priest lights the candles and as it drips on the banana leaves spread beneath the candles, predictions are made. Cambodians believe that the shape of the melted wax created on the leaves, predicts the harvest of the coming year. But whatever the prediction, it does not dampen the spirit of the Water festival and people excitedly look forward to the upcoming fishing season and giving thanks to the ever-nourishing waters of the Tonle Sap.

Some information was found on http://www.thingsasian.com/stories-photos/1951 - sometimes someone know how to say things alot better than you.

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