Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Chinese new year in Cambodia
Although Cambodia follows the Buddhist calendar and new year is scheduled for April, the presence of the Sino-Khmer communities make that the country stops also to celebrate the Chinese new year that in 2011 enters into the Year of the Rabbit. Several Cambodians refuse to celebrate it, seeing it as a foreign festivity. But it is undenniable that Chinese elements belong also to the Cambodian culture. At the same time, Vietnames new year matches with the Chinese and, once more, Viet-Khmer families join the ‘party’.
The commerce in the big Cambodian cities almost stop and many people return to their birth place to share with their families, grand parents or friends. Even friends say to others Gong Xi Fa Cai!!! that means Happy New Year in Chinese language.
It is four days of celebrations. Presents, decorations, food and clothe are included. Every Sino-Khmer house is cleaned of bad fortune to open way to good luck during the new year. Windows and doors are decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with the popular themes of happiness, wealth and longevity.
In the eve of the Chinese new year, the family meet for a great dinner at home. The favorite dishes include ducks, chicken and cakes. There are also games in front of the house to welcome the spirits of happiness and friendship. The Chinese new year 2011 fall between February 2 and 4.
Report and photos by Chhin Sieng for I See Cambodia Magazine
Do you have Chinese ancestors? How did you celebrate the Chinese new year 2011?