On Sunday, September 27, I went with my Khmer (Cambodian) family to go to a pagoda 40 km outside of Siem Reap where my friend’s mother in law lives to celebrate the first day of Pchum Ben, a religious celebration where Cambodians pay their respects to their ancestors for up to 7 generations. People celebrate for two weeks leading up to the national holiday on October 11, 2015.
During this period, the monks chant all night without sleeping and people go to the pagoda as early as 3:00 a.m. to offer food. 95% of the country is Buddhist and during the holiday, people offer drinks, rice, or other food for the monks to eat and they believe these offerings will benefit their deceased ancestors.
Here is how I spent my morning with my Khmer family:
My Khmer family was so nice to buy a truckload full of drinks, salt, rice and other items to offer the small pagoda 40 km outside of Siem Reap in a poor community. The pagodas in Siem Reap receive a lot because many people go to the ones in town.
The beautiful green landscape in the countryside that appears during the rainy season.
This is a small pagoda where my Khmer family made their offerings in the countryside. They were raising money to expand it. We arrived while they were doing the ceremony, which lasted up to a few hours. We didn’t stay because we were going to each lunch at my friend Konnitha’s mother-in-law close by.
Kids playing just outside the pagoda.
This is Konnitha (left) with her cousin (right) on the way to her mother-in-law’s house.
This is a custard apple fruit that is grown on Konnitha’s mother-in-law’s farm.
These are Konnitha’s grandmas eating before lunch.
I love how so many kids in Cambodia know how to entertain themselves and use whatever is around them to play. They don’t need a lot of toys and things, they just need to use their imaginations.
Our countryside lunch was comprised of ribs, curry, fried fish, and pineapple.
The whole family ate together.