Weddings and Waterfights – Celebrations in Cambodia
It’s the festive season in Cambodia and in this blog we hope to give you an insight into the celebrations that take place in April and May!
Khmer New Year
The pinnacle of the many cultural and religious festivals in Cambodia is Khmer New Year. Falling in April at roughly the same time as Songkran in Laos and Thailand, the festival celebrates the end of the previous year and the promise of good fortune in the next. Similar to the Lao and Thai celebrations, the festival involves fireworks, street parties and water fights!
GVI volunteers took the opportunity to run a fundraiser; racing from Kampong Cham to the southern island of Koh Rong Samloem. Along the way, volunteers were challenged to reach a number of checkpoints to knock time off their final arrival. Our fundraisers objective was to create a safe outside space for our students to play in as well as a second outside classroom to enable us to teach more classes.
In April the vast majority of our regular classes went on a well deserved summer holiday! In Cambodia, April and May are the hottest months of the year and coupled with Khmer New Year in April, the season sees students go on recess before the start of a new academic year.
Over this period our volunteers taught a variety of classes with one of our partners – Cheung Kok. Facilitated by Amica, an NGO based in France, women in the village are taught skills and crafts that allow them to generate their own income. This includes cultivating silk, weaving silk scarves, carving jewellery etc. etc. GVI Cambodia have had close links with Cheung Kok since our arrival in Kampong Cham just under a year ago and it was a pleasure to assist the headteacher over the festive season.
Now the holidays have finished, our classes are back in full swing and with a mixture of new and old students we look forward to seeing our students progress over the coming year!
In Cambodia there are only a select number of months in which weddings can take place. As such ‘wedding season’ sees a huge number of weddings take place: blocking roads with marquees; creating long lines of hopeful customers in dress shops; and blaring music throughout the country – although this last point happens throughout the year anyway.
At our guesthouse, two of our close friends – Srey Mey and Srey Davy – were married over the past month and they were gracious enough to invite the entire GVI Cambodia team! With volunteers and staff alike dressed in traditional Khmer shirts and dresses it was a pleasure to join celebrate with our friends, dancing in concentric circles in the ‘Apsara’ style and enjoying a never ending supply of food!
Congratulations Davy and Mey, you have brought so much joy over the past year to all past and present staff and volunteers and we wish you all the best into the future!