he Biggest Water Festival in Cambodia

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The Biggest Water Festival in Cambodia

After the tragic event on the last day of the festival in 2010, it was canceled the following three years. In 2014, the Water Festival was camcelled, although much less visitors than normal attended this festivities. And in 2015, the government pulled the plug again. The official reason was: the water level is too low to hold. Unofficial reason: rising political tensions between ruling party CPP and opposition party CNRP of Cambodia. Finally, the Water Festival took place in its former glory with a good atmosphere and lots of visitors come to experience in 2016. Indochina travel Cambodia

Dates in 2017: November 2-3-4

The festival will be more colorful this year

The festival will be more colorful this year- source: internet

Boats Racing

The Water Festival, which lasts three days competes with the Khmer New Year for being the most important festival for Cambodians. The boat races on the Tonle Sap river and the carnival atmosphere ashore attract millions of people from all over the nation. A smaller festival is held around the Angkor Wat, but for the more real and attracted thing you have to go to Phnom Penh.

In Khmer, Bonn Om Toeuk is another name of the annual Water Festival. The Water and Moon Festival ushers in the fishing season here. It also marks the reversal of the current of Tonle Sap river. Fireworks displays as well as boat races are held at the river.

Who will be the winner in 2017

Who will be the winner in 2017- source: internet

More than 400 boats take part in this annual race for boats, the highlight of the Water Festival. This is one of the major events in the country which attracts multitudes of people from the various provinces to Phnom Penh. They arrive by buses, cars, bikes, cyclos, and even trucks. Many stay over in the city during the three-day festival, lending support to their boat team. Others use this opportunity to explore the sounds and sights of Phnom Penh – for many it is the only occasion to visit this city.

Reversal of the river

The Water Festival marks a unique natural phenomenon – the Tonle Sap river reverses the flow of its current. It is probably the only waterway in the world which flows in opposite directions at different times of the year. The Great Lake or Tonle Sap lake is a wide expanse of water which forms the most important topographical feature in this nation. The lake is fed by the Mekong river and the Tonle Sap river. From November to May, the Tonle Sap river runs into the Mekong just like any other tributary. But with the arrival of the monsoon rains, there is such build-up of water in the main stream that excess pours into the Tonle Sap river, forcing it to change direction and flow back into the Tonle Sap lake.

The Festival also coincides with the full moon of the Buddhist calendar month of Kadeuk. The people here believe that the full moon is a good omen which promises a bountiful harvest.

On this night, especially in the countryside, people gather to give thanks to the moon. Special food is prepared for this occasion – vegetables, fruits and fish amok,  uniquely Cambodian specialities. Candles are lit, incense burnt and offerings made. The chief priest lights the candles and as it drips on the banana leaves spread beneath the candles, predictions are made. It is said that the shape of the melted wax on the banana leaves dictates the state of all future harvest for the year. phnom penh to ho chi minh by boat

Carnival in Phnom Penh

It is not surprising that the city takes on a carnival air during this period. Open-air live concerts are held, make-shift food stalls selling a variety of local fare are set up in parks and children as well as adults take rides on ferris wheels.

It won’t be a festival if there are no delicious foods

It won’t be a festival if there are no delicious foods-source: internet

Colourful banners and buntings adorn government buildings and as night falls the Royal Palace is brightly lit with colourful lights. Awesome fireworks illuminate the flotillas and night sky, outlined by glinkling lights, glide gracefully down the river. This is, in fact, Cambodia’s version of the Mardis Gras.

In 2017, the biggest water festival in Cambodia promises more new wonderful things to us!