Cambodia, Khmer New Year

Happy Khmer New Year: Day Three



 Virak Loeung Sak

The third day of Khmer New Year.

DSC_0540It was a quiet start to the third day of the New Year. At 6.30 in the morning there were only a few people at Toul Tompong Pagoda and the monks had just sat down to eat.



The quiet start and the cool morning air gave this young beggar-girl the chance to play; she threw a small wad of Cambodian notes in the air and tried to catch it, lost in her own world for a time.


Gently washed by hundreds during the previous two days, Buddha was left to quietly contemplate. That soon changed as by 10.30 hundreds more Cambodians came to pour water and jasmine flowers over the statue.

Later in the afternoon a more formal ‘Washing the Gods’ ceremony takes place. Known as  Pithy Srong Peas, Buddha is cleansed with buckets of water mixed with lotus and jasmine flowers and perfume.

In some ceremonies the Buddha is carried out of the temple for the ritual.

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Young and old are blessed and sprinkled with water.


Youngish girls in traditional Khmer clothing had just arrived at the Wat accompanied by a few musicians and a reluctant boy or two.

Their full role remains something of a mystery to me and a fuller explanation will hopefully follow in a later post.



 This baby girl is having a thin piece of string strung around her wrist. This is believed to ‘tie in the soul’ so that it doesn’t get lost.

The red net is to collect donations.


While the string is being tied wishes such as“Bad things go out, Good things come in,” are made. Traditionally the string should never be cut, it should fall off after wear.


 Mother and daughter pose for a photo.


 An accompanying musician. He enjoyed having his portrait taken but was also keen to be photographed with his instrument of trade.


 I didn’t notice a rice mountain- only one of sand- on day one or two. Perhaps I missed it.

By mid-morning the quantity of rice- an obvious offering in a country where rice is life- was enormous. I presume, like the sand mountains built in the previous two days, the rice would be blessed later in the morning.


 Monks, Novices and young boys enjoy the cool morning air at Wat Toul Tompong early on the third day of celebrations.


Another, Buddha, much larger than the one at the centre of attention at Toul Tompong Pagoda, sits at the rear of the temple grounds.


Someone had two lit candles and a few flowers had been laid along with these two battered images.

Happy Khmer New Year: Day One

Happy Khmer New Year: Day Two


7 thoughts on “Happy Khmer New Year: Day Three

  1. Pingback: Khmer New Year: Understanding | cambodian beginnings

  2. Your pictures, on this and other pages, about the Khmer New Year and other subjects, are so good in every sense: artistic, informational, high human interest! Keep them coming, Philip.

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