May can be considered as one of the busiest months of Cambodians because it features big events which are as important as any festivals in Cambodia. If your tour in Cambodia in May, you will have the chance to immerse yourself in the traditional festival of Cambodian. Here is the most highlights festival of Cambodia in May.
Royal Ploughing Ceremony (Bonn Chroat Preah Nongkoal)
- Time: Different dates in the 6th lunar month (usually falls in May)
- Duration: 1 day
- Location: the park in front of the National Museum (next to the Royal Palace)
- Meaning: The festival is held to mark the beginning of the official rice-planting.
It is supposed that there is a strong connection between Cambodians and farming and the Ox plays a fundamental role in their agricultural harvest all year round. Traditionally, the King Meak, representing the king of Cambodia, ploughs the field whilst the Queen, the Preah Mehuo, sows seeds from behind. The field is ceremoniously ploughed three times around. The royal servants then drive the royal oxen to seven golden trays containing rice, corn, sesame seeds, beans, grass, water, and wine to feed. The royal soothsayers interpret what the oxen have eaten and predict a series of events including epidemics, floods, good harvests, and excessive rainfall. During this festival, both men and women can be seen wearing brightly colored traditional Khmer costume.
Birthday of the King
- Time: May 13th – May 15th
- Duration: 3 days
- Location: Phnom Penh
- Meaning: The holiday is held to celebrate the birthday of HM King Norodom Sihamoni.
His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni was born on 14 May 1953. He has been the sovereign of Cambodia for 12 years. He became King of Cambodia after being chosen by a nine-member throne council after his father Norodom Sihanouk abdicated in 2004 due to ill health. Even though King Norodom Sihamoni’s father was King, the King of Cambodia is an elected monarch, making Cambodia one of the few elected monarchies of the world. The King is elected for life and is chosen by the Royal Council of the Throne. The only stipulations are that the candidates must be part of the royal family and at least 30 years old. To mark the holiday, the King makes offerings to monks and those less fortunate in society. Many government buildings are covered in lights and pictures of the King, while people will fly the flag of Cambodia from their houses. There is a giant firework display held close to the riverbanks in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh during the three-day celebration.