On water festival day in Cambodia

For the people of Cambodia the Water Festival in Phnom Penh is the most magnificent traditional festival. For three days, Phnom Penh citizens, foreign tourists, and peasants from various province gather in the capital to celebrate festively night and day.


In the afternoon of the first day, my friend came to my house. We both go on my motorbike and leave for the river side because there would be the races  of about two hundred decorated Piroguse at tow O’clock along the Mekong River , Not only us but also other people as well were leaving their house hurriedly for the place where the festival would be held.

The traffic seemed to be heavier than usual. City streets, big and small are busy with vehicles of the sorts moving in and endless line in the bright sunlight. When we approached the road that leads to the riverside, we saw a group of metropolitan police in KaKi Uniform, standing in the middle of the road, preventing people from taking their vehicles in, seeing this I told my friend to got off the motorbike and I take it to a motorbike –parking area. Then we stated walking as other people did, later I realized that reason why vehicles were not let in is because the police wanted to maintain order and safety. We crossed from one side of the street to other, arriving there we could see people young and old in dashing clothes of different colors walking back and forth with broad smiling faces. What attracted me most was the river bank which was lined with thousands of people, focusing their eyes on the river where the boat races were about to begin.

The second days made the riverside picturesque and engaging. Soon I heard an announcement from the loudspeakers which were tied to the trees, stating that the race were about to begin, my friend and I found a suitable place where we can saw the Pirogues. The boats set off in pairs under the crowd’s vary eyes and cheers. There were two types of boats, from near and far off province, taking part in the races-the Piroue and the rowing boat. Each boat was manned by about thirty to forty men or women. The boats with a man or a woman dancing softly and gracefully to the rhythm of the drums of the bow as an encouragement to the rowers, move swiftly though the water. Each boat did their best to win the race. Wherever I cast my glance there were people. The balconies of the flats situated along the riverside were also full of people. Everyone cranes their necks to see well. Some people sat eating snacks such as fried short noodles and baby ducks’ eggs at the eateries whereas other stand listening to the music played by the bands advertising beer or cigarettes . Omnipresent vendors walked through the crowd, shouting about the things they had to sell fresh fruits and brined fruits such as pomellos, oranges, star-gooseberries, guavas, jujubes, otaheite apples, chunks of sugar cane, and an unimaginable variety of fruits, we walked further towards the open field in front of the Royal Palace where I come across a large mass of people. Most of them were squatting and siting with crossed legs on the mats or on the grass. Chatting happily in the next open field there was a large stage on stilts decorated with colored curtains, on which the Ayai and long handled guitar song completion was held.

The embankment of the Mekong River on the day was probably the most beautiful part of Phnom Penh. I came alive towards the evening when the sun’s heat abates. Neatly-dressed children romped around. Street photographers took pictures of all who wishes to be photographed against the background of the Royal Palace. A light breeze which rustled the leaves on the coconut palms create a piece of melodious natural music serenading my mood. At 6:30 pm when the night fell, the darkness descends. The whole area was lighted by street lamps and the full moon, hundreds of light bulbs placed along the brick walls and on the roofs of the temples of the Royal palace sent out there bright light which made the Palace look like paradise.

At about seven o’clock the river was lit by jazzy illuminated boats which float slowly and smoothly on the water’s surface. Each of them was equipped with thousands of flashy neon lights arranged in different colorful, fancy patterns representing state institutions, ministries and services. Siler ripples lap against the sides of the boats. The moon was sailing across the sky. The cool wind was so refreshing. The delightful night made me feel nostalgic for the past. After a little time fireworks were lit to entertain people. Some of them make loud noises. They burst into different shapes and colors in the sky. Some children stood gaping at them whereas other clap and cheer with joy each time at the sight of the fireworks. My friend and I stood there watching people for a while and then came back to the place where I leave my motorbike. We got on the motorbike and ride to the independence monument whose beautiful public parks and fountains in shape of dragons and a lotus flower ere crowded with people.

After that we went to a small restaurant to have some light refreshments, and at 10 o’clock we return home in a pleasant mood, with high expectation of the next day’s sightseeing.
Going for walks during the Water Festival Days really refreshed my mood the lively festive atmosphere helped relieve my tension and trouble.
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Dangkorpost is the personal blog was created in 2013 by Cambodian person. This blog aims to sharing the information and tip related to everything important for the people and learners.