Festivals play an important role in the daily Cambodian life and everyone takes part in them.
The greatest is the Water Festival, the Festival of revers in Current of the Tonle Sab, which runs into Mekong. Its time is fixed by the lunar month of the Kadek, which means it falls over three days either late in October or early in the first part of November.The king takes up residence in his floating house on the river in front of the Royal Palace, and the races and procession of boats by and night, watched by huge and enthusiastic crowds lining the banks of river.
The most popular events of the Water Festival are the pirogue races. These long canoes, which carry about forty paddlers, some standing, some sitting, are brought out from their storage places in the pagodas and lunched with tranditional ceremony, which includes the paiting of two eyes on the prow of each boat, on the festivals's first day, anything up to hunderds pirogue assemble on the Tonle Sab close to the Royal Floating House, each carries one or two clowms, who amuse the crowds by singing popular and satirical songs, while the boat moves slowly along, its leader in the prow using his
lacquered ceremonial paddle to beat out the rhythm for the crew, while at the stem the helmsman uses a free oar to steer a steady course.
Each day there are pirogue race in the paris over a course of about kilometer, followed by a tranditional act of homage to the Sovereign. Then the sun goes down the final day there's a great final, the pirogues line up en masse, there is a symbolic cutting of an imaginary string stretched across the broad river, and the canoes race together to finish in scenes of enomous enthusiastic in front of the Royal party.
But the peak of the whole occasion is really the Bon Loy Pratip, The Festival of the Floating Fires. As the fool moon rises, a barge whith an altar moves along side the Floating House and the Sovereign ceremoniolly lights candles on it, followed by other members of Her party.
Historians are not quite sure about the origins of the great Cambodian festival, but it's clear that it is associated with the ending of the flood waters, and with the desire to pay a tribute to the role the mighty River play in everyone's one daily life the richness of the soil along its banks, the wealth of fish in its waters, and the approaching growth of crops watered by the river in the fields that
line in the river from one side of the fertile country to the other.
In addition, the full moon of the lunar month of Kadek is saluted by the King in his floating house. He wets his palms and face with holy water, and then sprays the water with a leaf of "Phnoo"
everywhere in the country side, on the night, people gather to pay homage to the moon (in the Khmer Sampeah Preah Khaeh). Shortly before the moon rises, the people the fruits and vegetables as well as Ambok (Pounded rice prepared by dry-frying grains of paddy rice then pounded them flatten the grains and remove the husks). Ambok is the most for this accasion. Holding incense sticks in their hands, all pay respect to the moon when she arrives at zebith (top). When all is over, everyone makes his or her friends, children, or toothless old people swallow banana and the Ambok. With this mouth full, they make wish for prosperity and a person close to them slapping on their back shout "Sathu ".