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Khmer Traditional Pchum Ben Day!
Pchum Ben is the ancestors’ festival, is the most important festival in the Khmer religious calendar. Cambodians have faithfully observed the festival every year for as long as anyone can remember. It is one of the longest festivals, lasting for 15 days. It is celebrated every year in the beginning of the 10th month, Phutrobot, of the Khmer calendar and around October of worldwide calendar. In this year, Pchum Ben is on Friday to Sunday, 26 to 28 September 2019.
Cambodians celebrate Pchum Ben because they believe that after death, they become ghosts whose earthly actions shape their appearance and that they walk the earth at this time. Everyone prays to help their ancestors pass on to a better life. According to Khmer belief, people who do not follow the practices of Pchum Ben will be cursed by angry ancestors. The living relatives ease their sufferings by offering them food. People also make offerings of money, dresses and other items to the monks in the temples. The offerings made are shared by the poor and the disabled during Pchum Ben and the donors acquire merit to cancel out past sins.
In the Khmer language, Pchum or Brochum means “a meeting or gathering”. Ben means “a ball of something”, such as rice or meat for offering purposes.
1st day to 14th day of the Khmer month Pheaktabot are called Kan Ben, during Kan Ben, people offer Buddhist monks gifts of food and candles. At night Buddhist monks recite a protective prayer. The 15th day is called Brochum Ben or Pchum Ben Day, is the biggest celebration. people visit their hometowns and gather with their family. Besides going to a pagoda, they usually have a quick visit somewhere nearby with family and have meals together.
Traditional activities include
– Throwing ball rice (Bay Ben) at Dawn or Bos Bay Ben in Khmer from 1st day till 15th. People may attend that ceremony as often as they wish.
– Families and relatives gathering at their hometown
– Making Food and cake
– Offering food to the monks at pagodas, which is believed to be a meritorious act by Cambodian Buddhist followers with dressing the best traditional clothes” Women wear bright colorful silk scarves with aov pak / for men wear the white shirt and long pant”
– Pray at the ancestors’ grave in Khmer called “Bang Schol”
– Boarding the grocery boat to ancestors ‘way back in the last day of event