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Phnom Penh issues festival guidelines for celebrations

Buddhists enter a pagoda in Phnom Penh during a past Pchum Ben holiday.
Buddhists enter a pagoda in Phnom Penh during a past Pchum Ben holiday. Heng Chivoan

Phnom Penh issues festival guidelines for celebrations

Phnom Penh City governor Khuong Sreng has issued guidelines for the organisation of Kan Ben, Pchum Ben, and Kathina festivals in Phnom Penh this year.

Kan Ben and Pchum Ben are scheduled to take place from September 30 to October 14. After a 15-day break which aligns with both religious and cultural practices, Kathina will commence on October 30 and run for a period of 29 days until November 27.

Pchum Ben is an annual period of culturally significant festivals celebrated by Cambodian Buddhists. These festivals are dedicated to honouring the souls of ancestors who have transitioned to the afterlife.

Kathina, on the other hand, marks the end of Vassa, a three-month rainy season retreat for Buddhist monks in Cambodia and in several other Buddhist countries.

Sreng requested district and commune administrations, as well as specialised departments and units, to hoist the national flag, the religious flag, and the Royal Standard.

Additionally, he asked them to display banners and slogans in their respective units, businesses, and homes to create a vibrant and aesthetically pleasing atmosphere.

“Both boys and girls involved in the Kathina procession should possess a clear understanding of the significance of this sacred event. They should refrain from engaging in any activities or behaviours that could tarnish the reverence and principles of Buddhism,” he stated.

He also called for attention to safety at the local level and advised people to be mindful of lighting candles, incense, lamps and stoves that could result in accidental fires.

He said that the health department has devised a safety plan, assembling a team of doctors equipped with pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, and ambulances will be strategically stationed at key locations and venues to promptly assist individuals facing health issues.

Venerable Khim Sorn, the chief monk of Phnom Penh, underscored that the Kan Ben, Pchum Ben, and Kathina festivals hold great national and religious significance.

He mentioned that monks in all pagodas within Phnom Penh, as well as other temples, traditionally adorn these places with national flags, religious flags, and royal flags.

Additionally, flags of worship are displayed at monuments like those honouring the Buddha and the Bodhi Tree, all in accordance with customs and traditions.

Seng Somony, the spokesman for the Ministry of Cults and Religions, stated that the ministry intends to provide guidance similar to that issued by Phnom Penh City Hall regarding this important festival period.

“The ministry will issue instructions to temples, monuments, and other sacred sites to ensure order is maintained. This includes the display of national flags, religious flags, and royal flags, as well as decorating other areas,” he said.


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