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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy New Year, Year of the Ox 2553

Happy New Year
Year of the Ox 2553 Buddhist Era (B.E.)
Begins 1:36am Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Moha Songkran: Moha Songkran is the name of the first day of the new year celebration. It is the ending of the year and the beginning of a new one. People dress up and light candles and burn incense sticks at shrines. The members of each family pay homage to offer thanks for the Buddha's teachings by bowing, kneeling and prostrating themselves three times before his image. For good luck people wash their face with holy water in the morning, their chests at noon, and their feet in the evening before they go to bed.

Wanabat: Wanabat is the name of the second day of the new year celebration. People contribute charity to the less fortunate, help the poor, homeless people, and low-income families. Families attend a dedication ceremony to their ancestors at the monastery.

Tanai Lieang Saka: Tanai Lieang Saka is the name of the third day of the new year celebration. Buddhist cleanse the Buddha statues and elders with perfumed water. Bathing the Buddha images is the symbol that water will be needed for all kinds of plants and lives. It is also thought to be a kind deed that will bring longevity, good luck, happiness and prosperity in life. By bathing their grandparents and parents, children can obtain from them best wishes and good advice for the future.

Khmer New Year Games:

After performing all rituals and customs to welcome the New Year, it's time to have some fun. Some physical activities become part of New Year celebrations. Popular games played at the time of New Year in Cambodia are listed below:

In this game, a ball is thrown and caught with one hand while catching sticks (pens, chopsticks) with the other hand.

Chol Chhoung
Played on the night of day one by group of boys and girls standing opposite to each other. One group throws the Chol Chhoung (Khmer scarf ball) on the other and if someone gets hit by the ball then the whole group dances to get the Chhoung back while the other group sings.

Chab Kon Kleng
In this game, one imitates as a hen protecting her chicks from a crow. It is played on the first night of the New Year. The crow tries to catch as many chicks as possible while both the groups sing a song of bargaining.

Bos Angkunh
This game is played by the groups of boys and girls. Each group throws their angkunh (an inedible fruit seed) to hit the angkunh of the other group. The winners must knock the knee of the losers with the angkunh.

Leak Kanseng
It is mostly played by a group of children. They sit in a circle. Someone holds a kanseng (Cambodian towel) twisted in a round shape and moves around the circle. The child moving around the circle secretly keeps the kanseng behind one of the children. If the chosen child realizes the kanseng behind him then he must beat the person sitting next to him.

Bay Khom
It is a game of two children. Ten holes are dug into a board in the ground . 42 stones are required to start the game. Five stones are put into each of the two holes located at the tip of the board and four stones are put in the remaining holes. The first player takes all the stones from any selected hole and put them one by one in other holes. It must be repeated until the last stone is dropped into the hole besides the empty one. Then he must take all the stones into the hole next to the empty one. Similarly, second player starts playing the game and the game ends when all the holes are empty. The player with the maximum number of stones is the winner.

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