Cambodian holidays are inextricably intertwined with Theravada Buddhist ritual. The holidays that really count are Buddhist in origin – not even the Khmer Rouge could eradicate the practice of holidays like Pchum Ben. Even the increasing presence of modern Western culture has done little to change the way the Cambodians celebrate the ebb and flow of life. Cambodian holiday celebrations are, and will always be, all about religion, tradition, and occasionally the Khmer’s irrepressible sense of fun.

Affected by Indian culture, the majority of Cambodian residents are Buddhists. Usually taking place in October and lasting almost the month, Bonn Prathen Festival is the major Buddhist festival of the year.

Starting immediately after the last day of lent and lasting until the next full moon, this religious festival marks the emergence of monks from retreat. People all over the country form reverent slow processions to their local temple to offer them robes and other items, thereby bringing spiritual merit to all participants.