According to Khmer’s customs, every year from 29 August to the first day of the 9th lunar month, people celebrate the Sen Dolta or the grandparents worshiping ceremony to commemorate their gratitude to their parents, their ancestors who exploited the land and pray for peace and prosperity.
Sen Dolta ceremony is organized thoughout three days:
The first day (the welcoming day): On this day people clean the house and especially the altar. They prepare a tray of rice, fruit, wine. The family members will burn incense to invite their ancestor’s spirits to attend the meal with their children. In the afternoon, people dress beautifully and continue to prepare the meal to invite the spirits to visit the temple and hear the monks chanting until night.
On the second day (the main worship day): the Khmer bring trays of fruit and rice to the temple to hold collective worship. After the monks chanting for all of the grandparents’ souls of people there, everyone gathers to eat and exchange experiences in farm work and life. In the afternoon, each family takes their deceased relatives home, makes a new tray of dinner and invites them to stay with their children.On the third day (the farewell day): Each family prepares a tray of rice and invite some monks and relatives to make a farewell for their grandparents. The Khmer make a boat made of banana stems with a flag, two bogies representing the ancestors, rice, clothes, money, etc. They burn the incense, put the boat into the river with the belief that the boat with the flow of water, will take the ancestors to the afterlife.
The Khmer Southerners’ Sene Dolta Ceremony is one of the most significant meaningful ceremonies of filial piety, remembrance of the deceased previous generation.