Pchum Ben 2006

Feeding the Ghosts

I’ll be seeing nicely dressed families going to the pagodas for the next few days.
Like just about every culture, Cambodians have a holiday to pay respects to the departed: Pchum Ben. Most offices are giving their staff Tuesday through Monday off; the actual time of observance is about two weeks.

Gifts are given to wats (pagodas) and food is offered to the poor. And just in case the deceased have not reincarnated into a better life, rice is scattered for the praet – hungry ghosts, who are free to roam the earth during this time. (There are so many varieties of ghosts in Khmer culture, I chanced across an index of them from the 60s-70s era, written in Khmer, Chinese and Vietnamese – picture below.)

Most people would like to believe their relatives are doing well in the afterlife, but it’s best not to take chances. For the very religious, Pchum Ben is a busy time, requiring numerous visits to a number of pagodas and grave sites. Even those who rarely enter a wat take some time out for this holiday.

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2 Responses to “Pchum Ben 2006”

  1. Wanna says:

    I’ve missed the ceremony for more nearly 6 years. I hope my deceased would understand :-) However, my relatives are always a real buddhist.

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