For many thousands of years, the art of stone carving has flourished in Cambodia. From the small statues made by local artisans to the famous, breathtaking carvings found at Angkor Wat, stone carving has become one of the country's most cherished art forms. Stone carving has been both a passion and a livelihood for many a Cambodian sculptor and has, in recent decades, survived war, genocide (in which many of the country's artists were murdered by the Khmer Rouge), and tyranny to be passed on to a whole new generation of artists.
The art of stone carving in Cambodia is one that has a very long, fascinating history which goes back to the foundation of the Khmer nation.
Within the scope of this article, we will learn more about the history of Cambodia stone carvings and the legends & myth of the stone carvings inside Angkor Wat
Magha Puja (also written as Makha Bucha Day) is the third most important Buddhist festival, celebrated on the full moon day of the third lunar month in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka and on the full moon day of Tabaung in Myanmar. It celebrates a gathering that was held between the Buddha and 1,250 of his first disciples, which, according to tradition, preceded the custom of periodic recitation of discipline by monks.
On the day, Buddhists celebrate the creation of an ideal and exemplary community, which is why it is sometimes called Saṅgha Day, the Saṅgha referring to the Buddhist community, and for some Buddhist schools this is specifically the monastic community. In Thailand, the Pāli term Māgha-pūraṇamī is also used for the celebration, meaning 'to honor on the full moon of the third lunar month'.
Finally, some authors referred to the day as the Buddhist All Saints Day.
In pre-modern times, Magha Puja has been celebrated by some Southeast Asian communities. But it became widely popular in the modern period, when it was instituted in Thailand by King Rama IV in the mid-19th century. From Thailand, it spread to other South and Southeast Asian countries. Presently, it is a public holiday in some of these countries.
It is an occasion when Buddhists go to the temple to perform merit-making activities, such as alms giving, meditation and listening to teachings. It has been proposed in Thailand as a more spiritual alternative to the celebration of Valentine's Day.
The Cambodian calendar is littered with holidays and its Water Festival - or Bon Oum Touk - is one of the largest. For three days, locals flock from across the country to the capital of Phnom Penh to watch the colourful boat races take place along the Tonle Sap River.
November is an important month in Cambodia. Not only does it mark the end of the monsoon season, when the heavy rains abate leaving way for the dry season ahead, it brings cooler temperatures, high water levels and ushers in the fishing season. What better way to celebrate than a festival? And that’s exactly what they do here in Cambodia with the annual Bon Om Touk – or Water and Moon Festival.
Pchum Ben is a time to remember, venerate, and present food offerings to one’s deceased relatives. Ancestors are honored going back as far as seven generations, and offerings are also brought for those without living descendants or in place of those who could not attend the ceremonies.
The Cambodian Buddhists believe that every year the souls of their ancestors are released for 15 days. Pchum Ben marks the start of the journey of souls to purgatory, that in-between place that is neither heaven nor hell. The course of their journey will be decided by their karma and by the offerings made by their living relatives during Pchum Ben. This festival begins at the end of the Buddhist Lent. During this time, foods are cooked for the monks to generate merits that will benefit the dead.
The Royal Ploughing Ceremony (Khmer: Preah Reach Pithi Chrot Preah Neangkol; Sinhala: Vap Magula; Thai: Phra Ratcha Phithi Charot Phra Nangkhan Raek Na Khwan) also known as The Ploughing Festival is an ancient royal rite held in many Asian countries to mark the traditional beginning of the rice growing season. The royal ploughing ceremony, called Lehtun Mingala, or Mingala Ledaw, was also practiced in pre-colonial Burma until 1885 when the monarchy was abolished
The Khmer New Year - Choul Chnam Thmey in the Khmer language - is one of Cambodia's major holidays. Communities with roots in the Khmer culture, which includes most Cambodians and the Khmer minority in Vietnam, stop work for three whole days to return to their home communities and celebrate.
Unlike many Asian holidays that are set to the lunar calendar, the Khmer New Year follows the Gregorian calendar and is celebrated for three days, taking place every year from April 13–15. Neighboring Buddhist countries like Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos celebrate their respective New Year celebrations on or around the same date.
Note: ‘Khmer’ and ‘Cambodian’
When seeing or hearing the word “Khmer” such as Khmer New Year, Khmer Community, or Khmer Temple, many people are not familiar with the word and they ask what “Khmer” is? In practice, the two words, “Khmer” and “Cambodian”, can be used to replace each other. For example, one might say Khmer New Year or Cambodian New Year; Khmer People or Cambodian People. The exception is when talking about “Khmer Rouge” (it is not correct to use the word Cambodian instead of Khmer in this case). (For information about the Khmer Rouge see: Cambodian Cultural Profile)
The word “Kampuchea” means a country of Khmer people. Kampuchea can be translated as “Khmer country”. The French call Kampuchea “Le Cambodge”; the Khmer male is called “Le Cambodgien”; and the Khmer female is called “La Cambodgienne”. A bit different from French, the English name for the country is “Cambodia” and the Khmer people are called “Cambodian.” However, the full definition of what is Khmer and what is Cambodian remains a large topic of discussion among Khmer or Cambodian intellectuals.
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My name is Jolie, I am a Vietnamese girl growing up in the countryside of Hai Duong, northern Vietnam. Since a little girl, I was always dreaming of exploring the far-away lands, the unseen beauty spots of the world. My dream has been growing bigger and bigger day after day, and I do not miss a chance to make it real. After graduating from the univesity of language in Hanoi, I started the exploration with a travel agency and learning more about travel, especially responsible travel. I love experiencing the different cultures of the different lands and sharing my dream with the whole world. Hope that you love it too!