Christmas in Cambodia

  • There are about 20,000 Roman Catholic Christians in modern Cambodia representing the 0.15% of the total population that is mostly Buddhist. 
  • Although Protestant churches state that they made the 2% of the Cambodian population with about 1,000 worship places in the country, their number is not official and they could be less than 10,000. 
  • The second largest religious group of Cambodia is Muslims represented in the Cham minority that could be much largest than all Christians combined. 

Cambodia is one of those few countries with a State Official Religion according to its Political Constitution: Theravada Buddhism:

“Cambodian Citizens of both sexes shall have the right to belief. The freedom of religious belief and practices shall be guaranteed by the State on condition that they do not affect other beliefs, orders and public security. Buddhism is the State religion.” (Art. 43)

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A group of Catholic youth in Kep Province celebrating the start of Advent Season on December 8, 2014.

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Merry Christmas 2012 and Happy New Year 2013

Don Bosco Kep Christmas Card 2012

 

Specially don’t forget that Christmas is about Jesus Christ, it is about a child born in a manger, it is about family, peace, unity, tolerance, justice. Thank you for being near to us in 2012, near to the poor by praying and giving to them an opportunity in life.

From Don Bosco Kep… MERRY CHRISTMAS 2012 AND HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013

 

Soccer at the sea side

Kep City. A soccer game between the teams of Sihanoukville and Kep was one f the ways to celebrate Christmas at the Don Bosco Vocational Center on December 25 afternoon. The game ended in a draw and went to penalties that gave the victory to Kep. The technical school invites groups of Kep and Kompot to challenge its soccer and volleyball teams, trained currently by Italian-Belgian coach Cassale. Contact the administration for any possible schedule. In January there is a program of rhythmic gymnastics for the afternoon.

A small Christmas celebration in Kompot

Kompot.​ A group of about 150 persons attended the Christmas celebration at the Kompot Catholic Church last evening. Fr. Son, the parish priest and one of the few Cambodian Catholic priests – most of the clergy is made by foreigners, – underlined the presence of ten persons coming from countries like Colombia, Japan, England, France, Italy, Greece and Vietnam. ‘Even in our small group, the Lord gives us a sign that He was born two thousand years ago for all mankind,’ he said during the homily to the faithful, most of them young people. Continue reading

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.’