Pchum Ben in Cambodia 2021/2022

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Re: Pchum Ben in Cambodia 2021

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COURTESY OF ROTANAK ROS

BY DIANA HUBBELL
OCTOBER 14, 2021


It Takes a Village to Feed Cambodia’s Ravenous Ghosts

In order to avoid the wrath of a horde of hungry ghosts, Ros and her family hurl small rice balls into the air at graveyards and temples in the morning darkness, when the spirits with the heaviest karmic burdens roam.

Rotanak Ros woke to feed the ghosts before dawn. By the time the sun’s first rays began creeping over the rooftops of Phnom Penh, it would be too late—the spirits cannot stand the light..... With no fewer than 32 realms, the Cambodian version of hell would leave even Dante’s Virgil aghast. When the spirits of the dead slip through the porous barrier into the world of the living, they’re desperate for a reprieve. And they’re starving.

If their relatives fail to provide the requisite offerings, the spirits will return to their respective torments at the end of Pchum Ben—and, in their despair, pass on their misfortune. Ros says that if the spirits don’t find their relatives in the temples and graveyards, “we, the living people, will get cursed by them.”

Since there is no way to know for sure if a departed relative is in a realm of heaven or hell, living relatives hope to pass good karma on to their ancestors and ease whatever suffering they might be enduring..... On the final day of the festivities, when the spirits head back to hell or to a new realm of the afterlife, families load up small banana-leaf boats with sweets, money, fruit, incense, and candles, then set the tiny watercraft afloat. The hope is that the spirits carry these gifts and a lighter karmic load back with them to the afterlife.

Pchum Ben is about symbolically feeding those who have shuffled off this mortal coil, but most of the feast winds up in the bellies of the living. After the sun rises each day during the festival, the cooking and the festivities continue. Although some of the dishes vary from province to province, virtually all families prepare num ansom—coconut sticky rice cakes stuffed with various fillings and wrapped in banana leaves—to take to the nearest temple as an offering for monks. It’s an act of service meant to make merit for those spirits who might need a little help from their living relatives to reach a better place in the afterlife.

On a pragmatic level, the festival takes place during the rainy season, when monks are forbidden from traveling lengthy distances on treacherous muddy roads. The tightly wrapped sticky rice cakes, which stay fresh for days and reheat even better, are an ideal food for sustaining monastic communities during this time.

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Re: Pchum Ben in Cambodia 2021/2022

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14-day Kan Ben Festival Begins: 2022
AKP Phnom Penh, September 11, 2022 --
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The two-week-long Kan Ben Festival kicks off today in the pagodas throughout Cambodia and will run until Sept. 24.

As usual, Cambodian people go to pagodas to offer foodstuff to the monks. They believe that the monks will then convey the offering to their late ancestors.

“This is a time when Buddhist followers have the opportunity to perform meritorious deeds and gather with relatives in near and far places, especially in pagodas,” wrote Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HE on his official Facebook page this morning.

The Premier called on the authorities at all levels to tighten security, safety and public order and to facilitate traffic during the festival.

Kan Ben is part of “Pchum Ben” Festival or the Festival for the Dead, one of the biggest festivals in Buddhism. This religious festival, which falls on the fifteenth day of Kan Ben, is to celebrate this year on Sept. 25.
By C. Nika
(Photo : Lanh Visal)
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Re: Pchum Ben in Cambodia 2021/2022

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Cambodia Public Holidays 2022
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Re: Pchum Ben in Cambodia 2021/2022

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Sending Police in to Temples? This concerns me. Try sending Police in to places of worship in free and democratic countries!
Can anyone imagine police being sent in to the Vatican or Westminster Abbey for example? Or my local church which I never attend.

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Re: Pchum Ben in Cambodia 2021/2022

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Ot Mean Loi wrote: Sun Sep 11, 2022 3:40 pm Sending Police in to Temples? This concerns me. Try sending Police in to places of worship in free and democratic countries!
Can anyone imagine police being sent in to the Vatican or Westminster Abbey for example? Or my local church which I never attend.

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What police into what temples ? :popcorn: I don't see what you mean (loi).
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Re: Pchum Ben in Cambodia 2021/2022

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Free Passenger Train Service Offered for Four Days in Pchum Ben Festival
AKP Phnom Penh, September 20, 2022 --

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) has announced the launch of a free passenger train service from Sept. 23 to 26.
"On the occasion of the upcoming Pchum Ben Festival, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, in collaboration with Royal Railways, will provide a four-day free railway service for all passagers," the ministry's recent announcement said.
Tickets for the two railway lines will be distributed two days before the departure date at the Royal Railway Station in Phnom Penh and at provincial stations from 7 am to 5 pm, it added.

According to the announcement, the first line is from Phnom Penh to Battambang province crossing Kampong Chhnang and Pursat provinces, while the second one from the capital to Preah Sihanouk province passing through Takeo and Kampot provinces.
Earlier, Phnom Penh capital administration also announced to provide free bus services to help reduce the spending of people returning to their home villages during the annual Pchum Ben Festival.
Some 175 buses have been prepared for the free of charge transport service for five days, from Sept. 23 to 27, of which 120 buses are ready to transport people from Phnom Penh to provinces and 55 buses for transporting people in Phnom Penh.

“Pchum Ben” Festival or the Festival for the Dead, the second biggest festival for the Cambodian people in the entire country after the “Chaul Chhnam Thmei” (Khmer New Year), will be celebrated this weekend, from Sept. 24 to 26.
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Re: Pchum Ben in Cambodia 2021/2022

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Ot Mean Loi wrote: Sun Sep 11, 2022 3:40 pm Sending Police in to Temples? This concerns me. Try sending Police in to places of worship in free and democratic countries!
Can anyone imagine police being sent in to the Vatican or Westminster Abbey for example? Or my local church which I never attend.

OML
I'm not sure what you mean. The elite military Vatican Guard and Royal Guard, and supporting police forces do take care of any security issues at the places you mentioned. I've seen Gendarmerie deployed to stop cheating in national schools so I don't think it's an issue having security forces around the perimeters of temples during heady festivities.
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Re: Pchum Ben in Cambodia 2021/2022

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Cambodia News (Phnom Penh): On the morning of September 23, 2022, 175 buses started their 5-day service transporting passengers free of charge to their hometowns nationwide to celebrate the Phchum Ben holidays*. The service will operate from September 23 to 27.
50 buses of the buses will operate in Phnom Penh urban area.
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* Each year, Cambodians living and working in the cities traditionally return to celebrate their ancestors in their home towns and villages during the Pchum Ben religious holiday.
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Re: Pchum Ben in Cambodia 2021/2022

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