February 7, 2022
PHNOM PENH – Residents in the Angkor area have gathered to celebrate a traditional spiritual ceremony which asks for happiness and preserves the ancient traditions of their ancestors. The villagers believe that the ceremony will bring happiness and abundant crops and can avert various diseases.
The Apsara National Authority (ANA), a state body tasked with managing the Angkor Archaeological Park, said the residents had carried out the ceremony on February 4.
It said the celebration had not changed in many years. The people gathered in front of Angkor Wat, Wat Athvear Temple, at Neak Ta Bak Rotes or various ancestral places to ask for happiness and prosperity.
This demonstrated how the residents of Angkor continued to preserve their culture, the ANA said.
“The villagers believe that the celebration of this spiritual ceremony will bring good health to their children and a good harvest.
“They hold this ceremony every year, because Neak Ta, a tutelary deity, is the guardian of the country, and the custodian of all children. Neak ta cannot be ridiculed,” it said.
According to the ANA, the ceremony includes both Buddhist and Brahmanism beliefs. In the early morning monks are invited to recite prayers. In the afternoon blessings and offerings are made and music is played in supplication of happiness and prosperity.
Keo Chantho, an elderly woman living in Kokchak commune’s Veal village of Siem Reap town, said she and other villagers have never missed the ceremony and had gathered to pray for happiness and prosperity.
Mon Raksmey, another resident of the village, said that every year around this time she and the villagers gathered to mark the occasion, and that she felt it was an important part of her heritage.
She said people prayed for prosperity and that their children would be healthy.
“Angkor Wat is not just a place for tourists to visit, but is also a sacred place for our worship. We are united by our traditions, and will continue to hold the ceremony every year so that our Khmer traditions will always be a part of our daily lives,” she added.