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A Pagoda in Siem Reap Holds the Traditional Bathing of the Buddha Ceremony

SIEM REAP – The Bathing of the Buddha, or Srang Preah, remains one of most important ceremonies held during Khmer New Year in Cambodia.

According to Hak Kim Huot, the abbot of Wat Aranh Sakor pagoda in Siem Reap City, the Srang Preah ceremony has been held for many generations in the country.

Usually, the bathing of the Budda takes place on Veareak Laeung Sak, that is, the final day of Khmer New Year. In the afternoon of that day, people give a bath or shower to the statues of the Buddha. During the ceremony, the monks, the elders and parents apologize for any mistakes they might have made in the course of the past year, and ask for forgiveness and blessings.

At Wat Aranh Sakor, people used fragrant water to bathe the many statues of the Buddha to wash away the accumulated dust. Afterwards, they brought water to the monks who then took turn to do the same. Some people among the public joyfully splashed water on each other.

Khmer New Year, or Choul Chnam Thmey and also called Sankranta, was celebrated from April 13 through April 16 in 2024. A combination of Buddhist and traditional events, the new year is a time when families come together.

The bathing of the Buddha ceremony is usually held on the last day of Khmer New Year. However, this year at Wat Aranh Sakor, it took place on April 18, that is, two days after the official end of the New Year celebrations.

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