More holidays! Next week, November 1-3, 2009 is one of the most anticipated festivals in all of Cambodia. The pirogue racing along the Tonle Sap, Phnom Penh is one event that Khmer’s look forward to. The whole carnival feeling plus thousands of tourists and locals flock to Phnom Penh to join in the festivities.
Image credits: Cambodia.org /Khmerization
Although there is also a smaller scale version of the festival held in Angkor Wat, but the exciting happenings are right in Phnom Penh. Yesterday, we took a stroll along the riverside and whoa! there are loads of stalls in construction, workers touching up on the pavilion that will serve as viewing stand for the boat race, more workers cleaning up the river from floating water hyacinth..
The annual Water and Moon Festival is also called the Bonn Om Toeuk in Khmer. This festival celebrates the start of the fishing season. It also marks the reversal of the current in Tonle Sap river. The most watched out for event is the boat racing, and there is fireworks, lots of fairs and mini concerts.
The Boat Race or Pirogue Racing, the highlight and worth watching. Some 300 boats all propelled by synchronized rowers. Most of the rowers are from different provinces and some from other countries. Loads of people from provinces come over to cheer on their rowing team.
The Moon festival coincides with the Water Festival and for Khmers the full moon means bountiful harvest. During this time, Khmers give offerings, light incense and say prayers to the moon.