(OCT) Pchum Ben Festival
Posted 26 January 2024

(Photos by: Siem Reap Tourism Club)

Pchum Ben Festival in Siem Reap: A Sacred Tradition of Ancestral Remembrance

Pchum Ben, also known as Ancestors' Day, is a deeply revered festival in Cambodia, especially significant in Siem Reap with its rich cultural and religious heritage. Celebrated in October, this 15-day Buddhist festival is a time for Cambodians to pay respects to their deceased relatives, going back seven generations.

The festival is one of the most culturally significant in the Cambodian calendar, reflecting the deep spiritual beliefs of the Khmer people. Pchum Ben is a period when the veil between the living and the dead is believed to be at its thinnest, allowing souls of the departed to briefly return to earth.

During Pchum Ben, locals visit pagodas and offer food, money, and gifts to the monks to transfer merit to their departed loved ones. This act of giving is not only a way to remember the dead but also to accumulate good karma. The pagodas in Siem Reap become focal points of activity, brimming with worshippers and monks engaged in prayer and ritual.

Major Programs of Pchum Ben Festival:

Alms Giving: Early morning alms-giving ceremonies where devotees offer food to monks.

Pagoda Visits: Visits to multiple pagodas to make offerings and pray for ancestors.

Special Ceremonies and Chants: Monks perform unique Pchum Ben chants and rituals.

Community Feasts: Sharing of food among the community members after making offerings.

Cultural Events: Traditional music and dance performances in some pagodas and community centers.


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