Living in Phnom Penh: Celebrations…
There are always reasons to celebrate. Just the fact that we can celebrate is a reason to celebrate. Lol. That was a mouthful. I have always believed that everyday is a day to celebrate but there really days that are extra special.
This time of the year is specially hectic with celebrations for us because its Khmer New Year and it coincides with my daughter’s birthday.
Cambodians (as well as some other countries around the region like India, Burma and Thailand) celebrate a separate New Year from the international new year (Jan 1) and Chinese new year. The Khmer New Year lasts for 3 days but the declared holidays usually start a day before and then a day after the said days. This new year simply means the end of the harvest season and the time for the farmers to enjoy the fruits of their labor and they also await the incoming rainy season.
During this time, Khmers cook special dishes for the family and for offering in pagodas/temples. They also make an offering table and place it on their patios. Offerings usually consist of fruits (bananas in particular), sodas, candies, flowers, etc. I even saw our neighbor place cigarettes, perfumes & cosmetics on their Khmer New Year offering table.
This is a really merry time for Khmers and they usually hold parties, with dancing and often part of these parties are traditional Khmer games. A Khmer friend told me that this is the time when Khmers really spend their money and splurge. They also believe that wearing new clothes is lucky.
On another note, we had a quiet but super fun birthday celebrations for the kiddo. That’s our rule, during birthdays, we do what the celebrant wants to do as long as its reasonable. Ha! I mean we had to stipulate some ‘limits’ coz she might one day take it in her head to ask for a trip to the moon on her birthday.
For this year, she just asked for a whole day of swimming on a pool, lots of spaghetti and not to forget her favorite double chocolate ice cream cake. Of course, since she had been a good girl she got what she wished for plus some more.
And whoa! this ice cream cake is totally awesome. Sinful, specially for a serial dieter like moi.