Cambodia Events and Holiday Calendar in 2022
First of all, let's check out the Festivals, Holidays, and Events Calendar in 2022:
||New Year's Day
||Meak Bochea Festival
||International Women's Day
|14 Apr to 16 Apr
||Thu to Sat
||Khmer New Year (Cambodia's new year)
|1 May to 2 May
||Sun to Mon
||King Norodom Sihamoni's Birthday
||Visak Bochea Day
||Royal Ploughing Ceremony
||Queen Mother's Birthday
|24 Sep to 27 Sep
||Sat to Tue
||Commemoration of Late King Father
||King Norodom Sihamoni's Coronation Day
|7 Nov to 9 Nov
||Mon to Wed
||Bon Om Touk
|The dates in this table are an estimate. We will update this page once the official public holiday dates for 2022 are released.
Top 10 Festival, Events, and Holiday in Cambodia
Below are the 10 biggest festivals in Cambodia throughout the year.
February - Meak Bochea
Meak Bochea celebrates the spontaneous visit of 1,250 monks to do homage to the Lord Buddha. The Buddha had retreated to Valuwan Vihara in the city of Rajagaha, whereupon 1,250 enlightened monks, the Buddha's own disciples, converged without prior appointment or agreement.
The monks heard the Buddha lay down the Buddha's three main principles: Do good, abstain from bad actions, and purify the mind.
Meak Bochea happens on the full moon day of the third lunar month (Magha, corresponding to March on the Gregorian calendar). On this day, Buddhists celebrate Meak Bochea by joining candlelit processions within temples in their vicinity.
The corresponding Gregorian calendar dates for Meak Bochea fall on the following:
- 2021 – February 26
- 2022 – February 16
- 2023 – March 6
Here is everything about Meak Bochea Festival
April - Khmer New Year (Chaul Chnam Thmey)
Cambodia grinds to a halt during New Year, drawing families together from all across the country into a celebration that turns wet and wild on the third day.
On the first few days, Cambodians will clean house, prepare food for blessing by the local monks, make merit at the local temple, and (for younger Cambodians) play traditional games with members of the opposite sex.
On the last day, as with similar new year celebrations in Thailand and Laos, young and old alike splash water upon one another to mark the occasion.
Unlike most Cambodian holidays which follow the lunar calendar, Chaul Chnam Thmey follows the Gregorian calendar - celebrated for three days from April 13 to 15.
Here is everything about Khmer New year
April/May - Royal Ploughing Ceremony (Pithi Chrat Preah Neanng Korl)
The Royal Plowing Ceremony is a religious ceremony marking the beginning of the rice-planting season in Cambodia. On this day, the King's representatives plow a field in Phnom Penh with sacred cows, then divine the coming season based on what foodstuffs the cows eat afterward.
The ceremony dates back to the mid-1200s, derived from an ancient Hindu ritual designed to ensure a good harvest. Cambodians believe the ceremony can account for events like floods, bumper crops, famine, and illness.
The plowing ceremony is traditionally held on the fourth day of the sixth lunar month. This corresponds to the following dates in the Gregorian Calendar:
- 2021 – May 11
- 2022 – May 13
- 2023 – May 11
- 2024 – May 16
Here is everything about Royal Ploughing Ceremony
May 13-15 - King Norodom Sihamoni's Birthday
The King celebrates his birthday simply, making offerings to the monks and to the country's poor, but the government celebrates his birthday with a three-day holiday, over which the streets will practically dance with banners and billboards congratulating the King on this auspicious day.
The day of his birthday and the two days following it are national holidays throughout Cambodia.
September - Ancestors' Day (Pchum Ben)
Pchum Ben, the Khmer Festival of the Dead, is actually the culmination of a fifteen-day observance called Dak Ben, throughout which Khmers are encouraged to visit at least seven pagodas to make offerings to dead ancestors and light candles to guide the spirits of the dead to these offerings.
Observant Khmers will also throw a rice-sesame seed mixture onto temple grounds. This observance helps feed the spirits of the ancestors who roam the world on Pchum Ben and are consequently hungry from not having eaten all year.
This holiday is especially poignant for the descendants of those killed by the Khmer Rouge, who pray at pagodas that house unidentified remains from those dark days.
Pchum Ben is celebrated on the 15th day of the 10th month of the Khmer lunar calendar, with celebrations spilling over to the day before and after. These correspond to the following dates in the Gregorian Calendar:
- 2021 – October 5-7
- 2022 – September 24-27
- 2023 – October 13-16
- 2024 – October 1-3
Here is everything about Pchum Ben Festival
November 9 - National Independence Day
This day marks the anniversary of Cambodia's independence from France in 1953. The celebrations are centered around the Independence Monument at the center of Phnom Penh, where the King lights a victory fire in the presence of the country's politicians, generals, and diplomats.
The celebrations also include cultural activities, parades down Norodom Boulevard, and fireworks in the evening.
November - Water Festival (Bon Om Touk)
The Cambodian Water Festival (Bon Om Touk) takes place once a year, on the full moon of the Buddhist month of Kadeuk (usually in November). It celebrates a major natural occurrence: The reversing flow between the Tonle Sap and the Mekong River. This natural occurrence is celebrated in Cambodia with three days of festivals, fluvial parades, boat races, fireworks, and general merriment.
People come from far and wide to join the celebrations. Upwards of a million Cambodians attend the celebrations at Phnom Penh to take in the wholesome carnival atmosphere. Food and drink overflow in the streets, Khmer pop bands entertain the crowds, and the riversides are packed to capacity with punters cheering their favorite boats on.
Bon Om Touk is celebrated on the full moon of the 12th month of the Khmer lunar calendar. The authorities have canceled celebrations in the past without warning. If the celebrations push through, they will take place on the following dates in the Gregorian Calendar:
- 2021 – November 18th-20th
- 2022 – November 7th-9th
- 2023 – November 26th-29th
- 2024 – November 14th-16th
Here is everything about Bon Om Touk - Water Festival
May - Vesaka Bochea (Buddha's Birthday)
Vesaka Bochea is a single day that commemorates three events in the Buddha's life: his birth, enlightenment, and passing into Nirvana. On Vesaka Bochea, Buddhists offer prayers to the Buddha and donate clothes and food to their local monks.
This holiday is one of Southeast Asia's most beloved, celebrated in areas where Buddhism has a strong following.
In Cambodia, Vesaka Bochea is celebrated on the full moon of the sixth month of the Khmer lunar calendar. The corresponding Gregorian calendar dates for Vesaka Bochea fall on the following:
- 2021 – May 24th
- 2022 – May 16th
- 2023 – May 4th
- 2024 – May 22nd
Angkor Festival – Celebrating Artists
A popular festival in Cambodia, the events of this festival are a delight to watch. Many dignitaries and sometimes the King himself attends this event. Performers from every part of Asia put together a performance showcasing their talents.
The performances are based on the great epic stories derived from ancient myths.
The performers look wonderful wearing their own national costumes recreating historic stories with musical and rhythmic backgrounds.
This creative storytelling event takes place in one of the most exquisite locations, Angkor Wat.
Sea Festival – Sports Event
Sea festival or water festival Cambodia is celebrated every year in the month of December on any of the four Cambodian coastlines.
This event which first took place in the year 2011, organizes many sports event for the visiting tourists including, motorboat racing, swimming, Cambodian martial arts, half marathon, and beach volleyball.
The event celebration begins before the new year, starting at dawn and continuing till dusk.
Sea Festival, which is the popular festival in Cambodia is a joint venture of the Ministry of Tourism, National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and the Ministry of Fine Arts & Culture.
The 6th Sea Festival is scheduled to take place in the Kep Province in Cambodia.
Frequently Asked Questions About Festivals in Cambodia
Q. What is the most important festival in Cambodia?
A. All traditional festivals like Khmer New Year and the Sea Festival in Cambodia are the important festivals there.
Q. What is water festival in Cambodia?
A. Bon Om Touk is a water festival in Cambodia which marks the reversal of the flow of the river Tonle Sap .
Q. What is the language of Cambodia?
A. The official language of Cambodia is Khmer.
Q. How wealthy is Cambodia?
A. Cambodia is currently one of the poorest countries in the world.
Q. What do they eat in Cambodia?
A. Seafood is popular in Cambodia.
Q. What is the best time to visit Cambodia?
A. The best time to visit Cambodia is during the winter season of the spring season. Months from November to February are considered as the best months to visit Cambodia.
Here is the guide for exactly when and where to go in Cambodia throughout the year
Q. When is King Norodom Sihamoni’s Birthday celebrated?
A. Every year, King Norodom Sihamoni’s birthday is celebrated from 13th May to 15th May.
Q. What is the rainy season in Cambodia?
A. The months from May to October are considered the rainy months in Cambodia. September is the wettest month of all.
Here is the guide for exactly when and where to go in Cambodia throughout the year