November is one of the most important months in Cambodia. Here, in Banteay Chhmar, is no exception. It is both the month for the celebration of the Water Festival and beginning of the rice harvest.
The flooding throughout Cambodia forced the cancellation of the national Water Festival festivities in Phnom Penh. However, except for damage to the road, Banteay Chhmar was spared from the flooding and we were able to celebrate the holiday.
The annual Water Festival (Bon Om Touk) is dedicated to the Khmer army, especially the water forces that defended the kingdom in historic battles. The celebration takes place every November, during the full moon period.
There were a variety of events and activities including boat racing, the preparation of dalambok (flattened rice) which is offered to the monks in the pagoda during the Moon Salutation (Sampeas Preah Khe). The finale is the floating of the illuminated candle boats (Loy Pratip). These boats are a way of offering blessings, good luck and wishes for the next year.
Please see our Water Festival photo gallery page.
November is also the start of the rice harvest (j’rook s’rao). Again, having been spared from the flooding, it looks like it will be a good rice harvest this year in Banteay Chhmar. This means workers can earn more money and the rice can be sold at a higher price.
Visitors are encouraged to visit the rice fields with a tour guide and learn about all the hard work that goes into planting and harvesting rice. Maybe you can lend a hand, too!