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Anywhere you go you will be met with water from every angle.

The world over, kids just love drenching others with water and in Cambodia it’s not just kids! Under the guise of cleansing to begin a fresh New Year, everyone lets loose with water from buckets or the biggest water pistols you have ever seen. Everyone is actually disappointed if they aren’t dripping wet all day long. Mind you with temperatures around 40-45 degrees, it’s not such a bad idea!

No matter what ages people are, it’s a happy tradition and they all join in wholeheartedly. But better be glad you aren’t in Thailand as they hurl buckets of coloured powder and coloured water over everyone there.

The offering table to the gods, that the students prepared at ODA

Khmer New Year, also known as Chaul Chhnam Thmey, is one of the biggest holidays in Cambodia. It falls between April 13th and 15th and is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy. At our education NGO, this festival holds great importance for students as it helps them understand and appreciate their cultural heritage. They make beautiful decorations from palm and banana leaves.

No one will get past this committed team!

Maybe you would like to contribute to the kids bus fares to visit their homelands.

They usually have money from their own from their art sales but with no tour visits to their Art Gallery, personal financial independence is just a faded memory for them all, and everything they need must come out of the ODA pot!

Celebrating Khmer New Year is also an opportunity for students to learn more about their history, customs, and traditions. They can learn about the significance of rituals such as visiting pagodas, making offerings to ancestors and monks, and cleaning and decorating the house. They can also learn about the traditional games such as chess, rope pulling, and cockfighting that are played during the festival.

Siem Reap was decorated in beautiful Gshows for people to enjoy

Apart from learning about their culture, Khmer New Year also provides an opportunity for our students to relax, have fun, and interact with their peers. It is a time Leng encourages older students to visit their homeland villages. Many still have connections there and they enjoy reconnecting and participating in traditional activities. This meant that ODA Central was very quiet and Leng couldn’t wait for them all to return and have things buzzing again.

Overall, celebrating Khmer New Year is an enriching experience for our students. It serves as a reminder of their roots and helps them appreciate the vibrant and unique culture of Cambodia. It helps them understand that preserving their traditions and culture is an essential part of their identity as Cambodians. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport have declared a months holiday for all schools associated with them in Cambodia, so this made it easier for our students to be away for a time. It is also the very hottest time of the year with temperatures often climbing well over 40 degrees.

Chaul Chhnam Thmey to everyone from Leng, Sry On, our teachers and students.

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