More than 1.3 million Khmer ethnic people in the Mekong Delta celebrated their traditional festival this week, Chol Chnam Thmay, which lasted from April 14-16.
Chol Chnam Thmay is also the new year festival celebrated by people from Laos, Cambodia, Brunei and Thailand.
Lao and Cambodian students of Cửu Long University in the southern province of Vĩnh Long perform a traditional dance on the occasion of Chol Chnam Thmay. The university held a celebration of the Khmer traditional festival on Wednesday with the attendance of nearly 150 Khmer, Lao and Cambodian students. VNA/VNS Photo Lê Thúy Hằng
For Khmer people, Chol Chnam Thmay is not only a new year festival but also a celebration of the end of the dry season before the beginning of the new rainy season and a new crop.
A Buddha statuette bathing ritual is held at Phổ Minh Pagoda in Gò Vấp District in HCM City. VNA/VNA Photo Xuân Khu
The three-day festival includes many rituals. On the first day of celebration (called Chol Sangkraan Thma), villagers dress up and bring offerings to the local temples for the mahasangkran procession ceremony and say the prayer for a new year.
Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional activities and rituals for Chol Chnam Thmay have been simplified. VNA/VNS Photo Chanh Đa
On the second day, called Wonbof, the families offer food to monks and build a hillock of sand in front of the temples to pray for good weather and a bumper harvest.
One of the major activities during Chol Chnam Thmay festival is offering food to monks to ask for blessings to ancestors. VNA/VNS Photo Chanh Đa
The villagers prepare water and fresh flowers and then attend the Buddha bathing ceremony in the temples on the last day called Lom Sak.
In addition to important rituals, young people play folk games, including splashing water, blindfolding, pot smashing and bag jumping.
Students of Kiên Giang University in the southern province of Kiên Giang splash water on each other, a traditional game during Chol Chnam Thmay to wash away bad things, sickness, and wish for a healthy new year. VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Đạt
Many provinces in the Mekong Delta with large Khmer communities, like Sóc Trăng, Trà Vinh, Vĩnh Long or Bạc Liêu, held many activities and traditional art performances to celebrate Chol Chnam Thmay this year.
However, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, many rituals in the temples were simplified to minimise gatherings while the festival participants were told to wear face masks and wash their hands with sanitiser. VNS