Today, the first day, is known as Maha Songkran. Everyone left offerings for Buddha last night before they went to sleep, and got up early to greet the sun and light candles & burn incense to offer thanks for the teachings of Buddha. They believe that Buddha comes down from above to bless them with good luck on this morning.
Up above is the offering our landlord and his family set up at our compound.
Khmer New Year is a time for families to take time out from working and spend time together. It’s been fun to see all the people around town celebrating with their families, and also to see some of the beautiful offerings tables. Yesterday, EVERYONE was at the local markets to buy flowers, fruit, candles, and incense for their offering tables. Here is a local girl selling special candle arrangements at the market yesterday afternoon.
Here is another offering from a hotel in town.
Siem Reap is FULL of people during this time (making it challenge to ride a bike anywhere or get around in the main part of downtown). They’ve put up a stage in the street and every night of Khmer New Year there are festivities, concerts, and fireworks. Here is some sort of skit where they are making offerings to the King and Queen (I think…my Khmer is not that great and there was no English translation).
And then there are concerts with popular Cambodian artists. Basically, it is a great big party and everyone is out and about celebrating with their entire families, from little babies all the way up to great grandparents. Loads of fun!