Here you’ll find dates of official public holidays, religious ceremonies and other festivals in Cambodia. Holidays falling on a Saturday or a Sunday are taken on the following Monday.
|January 1||New Year’s Day||Although an official holiday, until a few years ago not widely celebrated in Cambodia. Now, not only expats and tourists attend the fireworks at the riverside to welcome the new year, but thousands of Khmers as well.|
|January 7||Victory over Genocide Day||Mixed feelings on this day as it marks the Vietnamese invasion, which ended the Khmer Rouge regime. But a lot of Cambodians feel the Vietnamese later occupied their country.|
|February 10||Chinese New Year||This is the New Year of both the Chinese and Vietnamese lunar calendar.
NOT an official holiday, but widely celebrated in Cambodia. Almost all shops are closed.
|February 3||Meak Bochea||Marks the four auspicious occasions, which happened nine months after the Enlightenment of the Lord Buddha at Veluvana Bamboo Grove, near Rajagaha in Northern India. More on Wikipedia.|
|March 9||International Women’s Day||Celebrated with marches, gatherings and cultural events|
|April 14-15-16||Khmer New Year||Celebrated for 3 days after the end of the harvest to mark the turn of the year according to the Buddhist lunar calendar. Every home is decorated, shrines are filled with food and traditional games performed. Best place to watch or take part: around Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh.|
|May 1||Labour Day|
|May 3-4||Visakha Bochea||Birth of Buddha|
|May 13-14-15||King Sihamoni’s birthday||No festivities, only evening fireworks on the river front in Phnom Penh. See also the Cambodian king’s official website.|
|May 28||Bonn Chrott Preah Nongkoal||Royal Ploughing Ceremony. This is celebrated to alert the nation of the commencement of the rainy season and to ready farmers for the ploughing period. Cows are given a variety of crops to eat. Based on the choices of crops eaten, predictions are made for the coming year’s harvest.|
|June 1||International Childrens’ Day||Some NGO’s organize special activities for children. For the rest the day goes by unnoticed.|
|June 18||King’s Mother Birthday||No festivities|
|September 24||Constitution Day||Constitution of Cambodia|
|September 28-29||Bonn Pchum Ben||A colourful religious festival blessing the souls of ancestors, relatives and friends alike who have passed away.
Household members attend Buddhist temples.Colourful offerings in the pagodas.
|October 15||King’s Father Commemoration Day||Memorial Day as a homage to the late King’s Father Norodom Sihanouk.|
|October 23||Paris Peace Agreement Day||Commemorate the signing of peace treaty in Paris on October 23, 1991.|
|October 29||King Sihamoni Coronation Day||No festivities, only evening fireworks on the river front in Phnom Penh.|
|November 9||Independence Day (1953)||Celebrated with a ceremony early morning at the Independence Monument, usually with the King attending. Fireworks at night on the river front.|
|November 24-25-26||Water Festival||Marks the reversing flow of Tonle Sap River and also ushers in the fishing season. The highlight of the event, are the boat races that are held over three days. When night falls, fireworks light the sky and a lighted flotilla of boats sail aloft for good luck. People from all walks of life gather on the bank of the Tonle Sap for several days and nights. The population of Phnom Penh doubles during this festival. Colourful, very busy.|
|December 10||Human Rights Day||Human Rights Watch|