With the upcoming Khmer New Year from April 14-16, our language school hosted a party on a football field and taught us how to play some traditional games. All you need is a palm branch to snatch, a scarf to tie or some nuts to throw. Khmer New Year is the biggest holiday of the year and most people receive time-off from work. The majority of people will leave the big city of Phnom Penh and go back to their childhood provinces to meet with their entire family and neighbours. Cambodians highly value their relationship with their family and community. It is heartwarming to hear people describe fond memories of Khmer New Years.
There are huge gatherings at pagodas everyday where people play games, listen to music and dance. Imagine youth group games on a large scale, with strangers and friends. People are in good spirits and they playfully throw white powder (baby powder/flour) on each other, shoot each other with water guns, or hit each other with sticks. This sounds illegal in Canada but it’s acceptable fun here!
We will actually miss all the festivities because our family decided to take a short vacation to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam during this break from school. Carol is extremely excited to see her motherland for the first time.