Cambodian Christmas boom

One of my friends wrote to me an email from Phnom Penh:

‘This is great stuff BUT it’s strange to me why so much emphasis is placed on a Christian holiday in a supposedly Buddhist country.  When did this surge of celebrating Christmas (the birth of Christ) become popular in Sihanoukville? Was there an effort from the tourism ministry to promote the westerners holiday in Sihanoukville and Siem Reap? In the past there was no interest.’

It is true that this year the preparations for Christmas has been especially published in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Christmas concerts and festivals, Christmas gatherings in hotels and Christmas neon lights everywhere as it were the most Western country. The reply to this question is: all those stuff are not Christmas as the birth of Christ of course. All those stuff are far from the real Christmas Spirit. The goal is, evidently, to attract Western tourism and it means dollars and euros… It is therefore a business. By sure, most of those Cambodians preparing Christmas parties, do not have the most single idea of what they are celebrating or saying when they say ‘Merry Christmas’ or, as some students of mine write ‘Happy Merry Christmas.’


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About Albeiro Rodas

Albeiro Rodas (in Cambodia Sky Ly Samnang), is a MA in Digital Communication, independent journalist and a Salesian of Don Bosco from Amalfi, Colombia, based in Cambodia since 1999. He is the creator of the Don Bosco schools of journalism in Sihanoukville and Kep with young people from poor communities and the founder of the Don Bosco Kep Children Fund. Medal for Social Commitment UPB (2010); among the 100 more upstanding Colombians abroad (Marca Colombia, 2012, and among the 12 Colombians that are making this a better world 2013 (

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