Khmer New Year: Part Two

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Why would you only celebrate New Year's for one night when you could celebrate it for three?! Cambodians know what's up and typically make a three-day holiday out of the whole affair. Although we knew nothing could top the cultural experience we had celebrating Khmer New Year in Som Lot, a group of us decided to keep the party going with a trip to Siem Reap.

Connecting with Khmer culture may have been the goal for Battambang/Som Lot, but we had other plans for Cambodia's most-frequented town. We were there to get ridiculous on Pub Street with baby powder and flour at the ready to throw in people's faces. Hey, it's Cambodian tradition![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][image_with_animation animation="Fade In" img_link_target="_self" image_url="3734" alignment="center" img_link_large="yes"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]After a few flour-filled nights, we decided to pull it together for the last day of Angkor Sankranta, an annual Khmer New Year celebration that takes place on the grounds surrounding Angkor Wat.

Decked out in brightly colored clothing, throngs of Cambodian families came from all over the country to celebrate the occasion. We did our best not to lose each other in the crowds as we navigated our way through a parade and what appeared to be a gathering of some of Cambodia's VIPs.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][image_with_animation image_url="3745" alignment="center" animation="Fade In" img_link_large="yes" img_link_target="_self"][image_with_animation animation="Fade In" img_link_target="_self" image_url="3738" alignment="center" img_link_large="yes"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][image_with_animation animation="Fade In" img_link_target="_self" image_url="3748" alignment="center" img_link_large="yes"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][image_with_animation image_url="3736" alignment="center" animation="Fade In" img_link_large="yes" img_link_target="_self"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][image_with_animation animation="Fade In" img_link_target="_self" image_url="3737" alignment="center" img_link_large="yes"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]

We played traditional games and competed for prizes with the thousands of Khmer families that turned out for the event. Whether we were balancing pots of water on our heads or tossing water balloons over a volleyball net, we made a great showing and took home a few handmade keychains and various other goodies.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][image_with_animation animation="Fade In" img_link_target="_self" image_url="3744" alignment="center" img_link_large="yes"][image_with_animation image_url="3754" alignment="center" animation="Fade In" img_link_large="yes" img_link_target="_self"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][image_with_animation animation="Fade In" img_link_target="_self" image_url="3742" alignment="center" img_link_large="yes"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][image_with_animation image_url="3735" alignment="center" animation="Fade In" img_link_large="yes" img_link_target="_self"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][image_with_animation animation="Fade In" img_link_target="_self" image_url="3747" alignment="center" img_link_large="yes"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]My first trip to Cambodia left me with a feeling of sadness for all of the atrocities the country has faced, but this time around, I felt nothing but joy. New Year's always has a way of bringing out hope and optimism in people with the promise of a fresh start and the opportunity to get together with loved ones.

It filled me to the brim to see so many Khmer families coming together to celebrate their people, customs and culture. No matter what the nation has been through, you can feel the underlying pride of the Cambodian spirit and the resilience of its beautiful people.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]