Bonn Pchum Ben Festival
Bonn Pchum Ben Festival, or Feast Festival for Ancestors, is a 15-day festival, which commemorates the spirits of the dead – an important part of the Khmer culture. Visitors are welcome to partake in the last days of the ceremonies – October 15-16th 2012.
In the days leading up to the final ceremony, local people offer “Bens” – a food offering in the form of a ball of rice – to the monks of their local pagodas. These offerings are meant to reach the souls of their ancestors and friends through the monk’s sermons. Money offered to the monks is spent on the construction or renovation of temples and community development projects such as bridges, schools, tree planting, or as donations to needy families.
In the early morning of the last day of the Pchum Ben Festival, visitors can join the throngs at the pagodas and take photos of local people of all ages in traditional costumes. Women can be seen in their best traditional dresses, embroidered blouses and scarves, often made of silk. Sample Num Onsam and sweet Num Korm (steamed cakes wrapped in banana leaves) which are brought to the pagodas to share among all participants. Khmer people believe the exchange of food like Num Onsam and Num Korm cakes create a communal environment and a sense of belonging – even among strangers. Visitors will be warmly welcomed and invited to taste these cakes and enjoy the festivities – and feel like a local for the day.