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Public Holidays and Festivals 2017

Here you’ll find the 2017 dates of official public holidays, religious ceremonies and other festivals in Cambodia. If a holiday falls on a Sunday, an extra day off is added to the following week.

Plus some links to online picture albums of Cambodian festivals and more in-depth information on the celebrations mentioned, like the Water Festival and Khmer New Year.




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.
Read more…
January 28 Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year in Phnom Penh
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.
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February 11 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 8 International Women’s Day Celebrated with marches, gatherings and cultural events
April 14-15-16 Khmer New Year

One of the risks during Khmer New Year: dousing and throwing of talcum powder
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.
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May 1 Labour Day Better Factories
May 10 Visakha Bochea

Birth of Buddha
Birth of Buddha
See pictures of His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni presiding over the ceremony in the Silver Pagoda on May 1st, 2007.
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 14 Bonn Chrott Preah Nongkoal

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony
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
Sep 19-20-21 Bonn Pchum Ben

Collecting the food offerings during 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.
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September 24 Constitution Day Constitution of Cambodia
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 2-3-4 Water Festival

Boat races on Tonle Sap River during Water Festival, Phnom Penh
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.
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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. See also an essay on Cambodia’s Indepence Day by By Kenneth T. So.
December 10 Human Rights Day Human Rights Watch
We wonder why this is a national holiday in the country, because more often than not, not anyone in Cambodia is allowed to celebrate this day. In the true government spirit of ‘Human Rights’…