P`chum Ben Cambodia

P’chum Ben, or Ancestors’ Day
October 3rd – 5th, Cambodia
P’chum Ben, or Ancestors’ Day, is a Cambodian Buddhist and Brahmanism holiday where
Cambodians of those religions pay a respect to the spirits of their ancestors and deceased
relatives. Although it is called the Ancestors’ Day, it is actually three days- this year it falls
on October 3-5. However, 15 days before, the families follow a rite of “feeding the
ancestors” that are believed to walk through the earth this month. The sign of the food is
intended to easy their passing.
Most Cambodians go back to their birth places, joining the extended family to pay honor to
their decease relatives and ancestors. Schools, offices and commerce are closed during the
three main days of the festival. The deceased that are considered without living relatives,
are also remembered in the pagodas. Early morning the families prepared a special sacred
food made of sticky rice. The family goes together to the nearby pagoda and offers the food
to the monks, and to their ancestors. They walk around the temple three times in prayer
with incense and chants.
At midday the families return to the pagoda to present more offerings that will help in
cancelling their own sins and helping the poor. The last day of the P’chum Ben is the most
special, with everybody dressing in their best clothes and the family going to the pagoda
with flowers and other special presents for the monks. They dedicate the last prayers to
their ancestors helping them in their travel through a better ‘life.’
Silver Pagoda, Phnom Penh