At the end of this round, we have our Pchum Ben breaks and in Khmer class, our teacher has taught us the culture and custom of the Pchum Ben Ceremony.
Pchum Ben is one of the most important holidays in Cambodia. During this holiday, people around the country will visit their hometowns and gather with their family. Besides going to the pagoda, people also travel to places with their family and enjoy their little break from works and schools. Throughout Cambodia, myself and other Cambodian have a really deep respect toward our parents, grandparents, and our ancestors. Each year during the end of September, there is a festival called “Pchum Ben”, which is a 15 days festival where it is a time when we honor our ancestors. For the first 14 days of Pchum Ben, we called it “Dak Ben”. During these days, people will go to the pagoda because we believed that our deceased relatives are waiting at the pagoda for food. Before taking food to the pagoda, children need to prepare food for their parents. This is because “What you have at home is more powerful than the god in the pagoda. Who are the gods in your house? They are your parents.” Cambodians value our parents as precious gods. The right time for bringing food to the pagoda is not later than 11:00 am because the monks will not allow eating after 12:00 pm. For every early morning of the festival, around 4:00 am, people will prepare small rice balls at the pagoda. Outside the temple, people will throw the balls of food. We believed that our ancestors, who committed sins, that are not allowed to enter the temple, will eat the food that was prepared by their descendants. On the 15th day, is the most important day of the ceremony and the last day too.
The ancestors will get mad at us if their spirits don’t see their relatives bringing food for them at the pagoda, they will get really mad and curse the relatives with bad luck.