Ministry of Cults and Religion spokesman Seng Somony said his department expects many Buddhists to celebrate Meak Bochea Day on Tuesday, while Cambodia’s youth were also urged to fully engage with their cultural heritage on one of the Kingdom’s most important holidays.
“We observed that many Buddhists celebrate this holiday everywhere in Phnom Penh and in the provinces throughout Cambodia."
“They will celebrate Meak Bochea Day according to the traditions of their own provinces, while in Phnom Penh, there will be a major celebration at Phnom Preah Reach Trop, also known as Oudong Mountain."
“Cambodian Buddhists strictly follow the teachings of the Buddha, so there will be many youths and Buddhists celebrating this holiday,” he said.
Somony said that every year the National Committee for Organising National and International Festivals instructed provincial authorities and the country’s over 3,000 pagodas to celebrate Meak Bochea Day.
It is celebrated during the full moon based on the traditional Cambodian calendar. It is a public holiday in the Kingdom.
Kou Sopheap, a professor at Pannasastra University of Cambodia, said the holiday marked the day Buddha announced the teaching of dharma and the day that he predicted his own death.
“Meak Bochea Day is the day that Buddhists first learnt and started to practice Buddhist teachings,” he said, adding that during Meak Bochea Day, Buddhists spend time cleaning their houses, cooking food for their parents or old people and delivering food to monks at pagodas.
“Now it is better because young people have started to celebrate Meak Bochea and Vesak Bochea Day, while many people come to the pagoda,” he said.
Cambodians celebrate Meak Bochea in Phnom Penh last year.//Heng Chivoan
Sopheap also called for young people to celebrate Cambodian national religious festivals and pay less attention to international holidays.
Pannasastra University student association president Yann Aoudourm told The Post that Cambodian youth were paying less attention to the Kingdom’s major religious holidays, and also urged young people to fully participate in this year’s events.
“People who are 25 or younger are studying at high school or university, so they have the day off during this holiday [to celebrate],” he said.
Aoudourm added that he and 30 of his friends would be celebrating at Puth Mondol Pagoda, located in Kandal province.