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Oudong, Phnom Penh

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Visak Bochea

Visak Bochea, is the holiest day of the Buddhist calendar. It marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha on the day of May’s full moon.

Oudong Mountain, Kandal, Cambodia


Hundred of monks from temples throughout the country are invited to a food-offering ceremony. This giving of alms is seen as a way to gain merit. And it’s also to praise the spirit of dead relatives.

Monks receiving alms, May 2017

Since 2002, the main celebration has taken place at Oudong mountain (40km from Phnom Penh), where a stupa containing a golden urn said to contain the ashes of the Buddha is located.

The urn, which was brought to Cambodia from Sri Lanka by the Late King Father Norodom Sihanouk in 1957, was among several golden relics stolen, and since returned, from the temple at Oudong in December 2013.

The king is often the most honoured guest, although I don’t think he made an appearance this time.

Instead the greatest attention was paid to a large group of women, wives of high-ranking politicians and officials I presume. They enjoyed the respect they were being accorded.