Chol Chnam Thmay is an annual traditional festival of Khmer people. In Khmer tradition, Chol Chnam Thmay plays as important role as Lunar New Year of Kinh people. Like Kinh people, Khmer people celebrate Chom Chnam Thmay with the hope for a safe and happy and lucky year.
Chol Chnam Thmay Festival in Mekong Delta
Chol Chnam Thmay Festival lasts for three days in the April (from the 13th to 15th). To prepare for their new year, Khmer people often clean and decorate their house nicely as well as make some special traditional food. During these three days, people enjoy being free from work and relaxing with family members.
The first day of New Year in Khmer tradition is called as Chol Sang Kran. On this day, Khmer people often wear traditional costumes and go to the local pagoda. They offer incense, lamps, flowers and fruits for the great-calendar receiving ceremony. In the evening, there is a ceremony to see off the old Tevoda and process the new one. After listening the monk’ teachings, people together play traditional games or join in singing and dancing at the yard.
The second day is named as Thngay Vonabot. In the morning, Khmer people offer monks with food and drinks and worship soul of departed family members. In the late afternoon and evening, Khmer people traditionally head up a sandy mountain symbolizing their hope for happiness (called as the gold mountain and the silver mountain).
On the third day with the name Thngay Long-sac, after listening to Buddhist teaching, people start cleaning Buddha statues with perfume water. This action is to show respect and gratitude to Buddha as well as get rid of misfortune of the old year and wish for the best in the coming year. In the afternoon, Khmer people offer incense and other food and drinks to free the soul of departed family members from suffering. On this day, Khmer people often wish relatives and friends best wishes, operate community activities at communal houses and perform traditional art performances.
Chol Chnam Thmay festival is a special cultural activity of Khmer community in Mekong Delta attracting thousands of tourists every year.