Cambodia Water Festival in Pictures
Cambodia's 3-day celebration of Bon Om Touk or Water Festival is one that you must put in your trip itinerary.
The Tonle Sap in Phnom Penh was ablaze as huge illuminated lanterns saddled on boats sailed slowly through as the fireworks were on. It's an event not to be missed.
The Boat Race, Cambodia Water Festival
257 boats took to the Tonle Sap to outrace each other in the spectacular 3-day boat race on, the main feature of the Water Festival in Phnom Penh. The boats' oarsmen and paddlers wore colourful uniforms, each team representing a village, an age old tradition in Cambodia. Many of the boats are stored in the Pagoda and villagers come to support their own boat in the race.
Some boats are sponsored by some of the prominent politicians, like Prime Minister Hun Sen, Deputy Prime Minister Son An, and Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara. This year, the winner is the boat, Saray Decho Senchey (28 minutes, 30.62 second) sponsored by the pagoda chief of Kandal Province, Khann Sok Nim.
Over the course of the 3-day celebration, about 3 million people came. The first day drew only around 500,000 but with better organization and greater safety and security, people started flocking Phnom Penh on the second and third day.
A celebration which can trace its roots to the 12th century when the navy of King Jayavarman VII defeated the Chams. It was also said that the festival was celebrated for the Kings at that time to recruit the best people for the kingdom's navy.
Cambodians consider this celebration as an integral part of their heritage. It is also the festival of the Full Moon and it so happened this year, that on the second day of the festival, the moon was at its biggest in so many years.
If you have not yet been to Cambodia's Water Festival, time to mark it in your calendar. Watch for the dates which will be announced by the monks next year.