Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pchum Ben Festival



Our two girls who still live in Cambodia, L and L, are always near and dear to our hearts. One commented to me recently about the upcoming Pchum Ben Festival in Cambodia and I had to stupidly admit that I had no idea what it was, so I turned to Prof. Google and thought I would enlighten my memory in the future and any readers who might be so inclined to want to know...

One of our girls said that people visit their families and travel far sometimes, but that unfortunately they could not visit theirs - meaning us, this makes my heart so heavy. But, there is nothing more we can do but provide for them in Cambodia the best we can and love and pray for them, which we do.

"In Cambodia, there are various religious festivals. Among those, Prachum Benda (”Ancestors’ Day”), more commonly known as Pchum Ben, is a big Cambodian religious festival, culminating in celebrations on the 15th day of the tenth month in the Khmer Calendar. It lasts for fifteen days. Pchum Ben is the fifteenth and final day of the ceremony and consists of a large gathering of laity for festivities at the local Buddhist temple. The days leading up to Pchum Ben are known as Kann Ben. In 2007, the holiday falls on the 11th of October in the Gregorian calendar.

Religiously, Cambodians believe that although most living creatures are reincarnated at death. However, due to bad karma, some souls are not reincarnated but rather remain trapped in the spirit world. Each year, for fifteen days, these souls are released from the spirit world to search for their living relatives, meditate and repent. So, the fifteen-day is time when Cambodians pay their respects to deceased relatives. Furthermore, it is an important opportunity for living relatives to meditate and pray to help reduce the bad karma of their ancestors, thus enabling the ancestors to become reincarnated and leave the torment and misery of the spirit world. People cook meals for monks, bring offerings to the temple and throw rice near the temple early in the morning, believing that their ancestors will receive it.


Terminology:
Prachum Benda (Pchum Ben): meaning “gathering together to make offerings”
Prachum (Pchum): meaning “gathering together”
Benda (Ben): mean “offering”
Kann meaning “hosting or holding”
Source:
Khmer Institute"

1 comment:

Christina said...

I've never heard of this one either! R~ will be thrilled to hear there's another Cambodian holiday to celebrate. :-)