Khmer New Year 2024

Chaul Chnam Thmey: Discover Khmer New Year 2024

What is the Khmer New Year

Khmer New Year is one of Cambodia’s biggest traditional festivals. It is also known as Chaul Chnam Thmey, or Moha Sangkranta in Khemr or the Cambodian New Year, and is a three-day holiday in Cambodia. “Chaul Chnam Thmey” means “enter the new year” in English. The Khmer New Year is based on the traditional solar New Year. This year, the Cambodian New Year is on Saturday, April 13th, and the animal for the year is the Dragon. 

History of Khmer New Year

The Khmer New Year starts on either April 13th or 14th, depending on the “MohaSangkran,” the ancient horoscope. Earlier, it began on the first day of the first month of the Lunar Calendar, either in November or December. But in the 13th Century of the Angkor Era, the Khmer King, either Suryaraman II or Jayavaraman VII, changed to the fifth month of the Lunar Calendar in April, i.e., the Solar Calendar. The reason behind this shift was that 95% of the Khmer population were farmers, and the busiest period was from November to March because of harvesting. As April is free time, has no rain, and tends to remain hot, this month was an ideal time to go on vacation after collecting their income. Hence, April was the right time to celebrate the Khmer New Year. 

How To Celebrate Khmer New Year

The 3 Days of Khmer New Year has its unique name and related customs:

Day 1 

“Moha Sangkran” is the first day of the new year. It is the welcoming of New Angles, who come to protect the world for a year. The leaders of these angels are “KimiteaTevi”. On this day, family members clean and decorate the house, prepare food and drinks, and offer fruits and food to monks for blessings.  

Day 2

The second day is “Wanabot.” On this day, they offer gratitude and gifts to the elders and distribute charity to the less fortunate. In the evening, they visit the religious temple and carry out the custom of building sand mounds. This brings prosperity and longevity to the Cambodian people. 

Day 3 

The final day of the Khmer New Year is “Leung Sakk.” In the evening, they perform the last ceremony called “Puthu Srang Preah.” Here, they bathe with holy fragrant water on the statue of Buddha, grandparents, or elders to show gratitude and apologise for mistakes. 

What Do You Do In Khmer New Year 2024

One of the most essential aspects of human life is entertainment. The Khmer New Year has various activities and games for everyone, from young children to adults, to spend quality time together.

Creating Water Basin

On day one, the local people prepare a water basin with flowers like Jasmin, five incense sticks, candles, desserts, fruits, drinks, etc. 

Playing traditional games

The second day includes playing the traditional Khmer games like: 

  • Tossing towels called “Chol Chhoung.” 
  • The scarf-hiding game is called “Leak Kon Saeng.” 
  • Tug-of-war called “Teanh Proat.” 
  • The traditional “Bos Ang Kunh” game involves coordinating hands and eyes to enhance concentration. 
  • Catch the baby hawk called “Chab Kon Kleng.” 
  • Pagodas and other localities are fill with happy classical songs and dance. 

Feasting

If you are wondering what do they eat in Khmer New Year? The answer is there are many mouthwatering options you can gulp on. On the third day, the families prepare delicious traditional foods like:

  • The “Nom Ansom” is served with sweet sticky rice dessert. 
  • The “Khmer Curry” is cooked with lots of herbal ingredients. 
  • “Khmer Fish Amok” a steamed fish curry made with coconut milk in banana leaves
  • “Kralan” is a tasty rice cake made with coconut milk and nuts, steamed and roasted inside the bamboo. 

Fireworks and street parties

The last day is celebrated with fireworks and street parties in Cambodia. They create a joyous environment by commemorating it with families and friends. 

Latest update on Khmer New Year 2024

  • Cambodia to welcome foreign travellers with a Chhay Yam dance performance at the airport during Khmer New Year for three days or one whole week. 
  • Manet orders free bus for the Khmer New Year
  • PM Hun Manet instructed the Minister of Tourism, the Minister of Labor, and the Minister of Vocational Training to cooperate with border provinces to welcome Cambodians and foreigners to the upcoming Khmer New Year. 
  • Phnom Penh administration bans gambling and water splashing for the upcoming Khmer New Year. 

Where to celebrate Khmer New Year 2024 in Cambodia? 

The Cambodian New Year happens throughout the country, but the most bustling celebrations happen in Phnom Penh, Seim Reap, and Battambang.

Phnom Penh

The capital of Cambodia, the Royal Palace of Phnom Penh, is the centre of celebration. The entire palace is decorated with lights and has an exclusive fireworks show. The street around the Royal Palace is fills with food stalls selling traditional Cambodian cuisine. People gather to offer prayers and donations and participate in fun activities and games.  

Siem Reap

The world-famous Angkor Wat temple is located in Siem Reap. The festival attracts nearly 1.8 million visitors. The temple is fill with lights, and the community celebrates with traditional dance performances and music. Street fairs are held with local crafts and food stalls. 

Battambang

You must attend to witness the boat race at Sangker River that happens at Battambang. The city also hosts street fairs and cultural performances. Travellers can visit the local pagodas and temples to offer prayers and observe traditional ceremonies. 

RedBus has multiple bus operators listed on the site for the cities mentioned above. You can reserve your bus seat from anywhere online according to the timing and bus type you want to travel in. Scroll below and give a complete read to learn more about redBus services in Cambodia. 

How To Commute In Cambodia Via Bus To Experience Khmer New Year in 2024?

redBus offers convenient booking options on the busiest travel route. Ensure to participate in the vibrant celebration by reserving your bus tickets in advance. The following are the most popular bus routes in Cambodia, along with available bus operators:

The three most busy routes in Cambodia are:

Popular Bus Route in CambodiaBus OperatorsTime
Siem Reap To Phnom PenhVireak Buntham Express
Seila Angkor Khmer Express
E-Booking Express
Giant Ibis
Airbus
06:00
06:30
07:00
08:45
08:00
Phnom Penh To KampotKimSeng Express
Ekareach Express
Vireak Buntham Express
Vibol Express
Giant Ibis
06:30
06:30
05:00
07:30
08:00
Phnom Penh To SihanoukvilleVireak Buntham Express
Airbus
Chan Moly Roth
Sovan Rithy Express
Vibol Express
01:00
07:15
00:45
07:30
07:30

Conclusion

Khmer New Year is a celebration of rich heritage and a time to reflect gratitude. It is that time of the year when families gather to honour their ancestors, and you get to dive into the heart of Cambodian Cultural celebration, creating a lifetime of experience. 

Sursedey chnam thmey!