April is the most important and special month in Cambodia because it is the celebration of the Khmer New Year. The new year coincides with the solar new year elsewhere in Southeast Asia. It is very much a family time. Many people travel to spend time with their families. It is also an important time to visit the pagoda and pay homage to Buddha and his teachings.
In Banteay Chhmar, the CBT group celebrated with a party on April 12th, the day before the official start of the New Year. There were speeches and gifts given to the top five students in Grades 1-6 from the Banteay Chhmar primary school. The speeches and ceremony were followed by dinner (and drinking!) among all the CBT members.
The New Year’s celebration continued in the temple for the next three days.Vendors set up food and drink stalls. There was plenty of music and dancing, and, of course, the traditional throwing of powder on faces.