What Happens At the Cambodian New Year Celebration in Rochester?
When my friend Tracy Sam asked if I knew it was Cambodian New Year this week, I had to quick look it up so I didn't have to admit I didn't know there was such a thing. It turns out, there's a lot of things I don't know.
I asked around and am grateful to Kim Sin for sending me information and, essentially, becoming my "guest author" for today. If you're looking for the basic who/what/when information, just scroll on down.
How Do the Khmer Celebrate Their New Year?
The Khmer (the vast majority of Cambodians are Khmer) mark their New Year with purification ceremonies, visits to temples, and playing traditional games.
- At home, observant Khmer do their spring cleaning and set up altars to offer sacrifices and welcoming the new tevta (angel).
- At the temples, the locals would visit the pagodas and bring offerings of food, desserts, and other everyday items to appease their deceased ancestors.
The temple courtyards also become playgrounds for the Khmer, who play traditional Khmer games during this time of year. A game called angkunh, for example, uses large inedible nuts that are tossed and knocked by opposing teams which one side is all female and other side is a male. (Watch video)
The Cambodian New Year is celebrated for three whole days, each with its own ritual significance and ceremonies.
Where Can I Celebrate Khmer New Year in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, the best place to be during the New Year is...
- April 17th - Wat Munisotaram, in Hampton, Minnesota - (which is the largest Buddhist Temple in North America, scroll down to see photos).
- April 24th - Buddhist Support Society, in Rochester, Minnesota, where the Khmer would share foods with their community and spending time to play traditional games, and watch traditional performances.
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