Pchum Ben

Pchum Ben, also known as Ancestor’s Day or Khmer festival of the death, is a religious festival and also a public holiday in Cambodia to remember and pay respect to the ancestors. It is observed on the 15th day of the 10th month in Khmer calendar. Cambodian people commemorate Pchum Ben by offering food to the monks in the hope that the offerings will be received by the deceased ones.

Date of Pchum Ben
Pchum Ben is celebrated at the end of Vassa or Buddhist Lent on the 15th day of the 10th month in Khmer calendar. In Gregorian calendar, Pchum Ben is celebrated around September or October every year.

When is Pchum Ben 2013?
Pchum Ben 2013 will be celebrated for three days starting from Thursday, 3 October 2013, until Saturday, 5 October 2013. (yet to be confirmed)

Origin of Pchum Ben
People in Cambodia believe that during Pchum Ben, the gates of hell are opened so that the deceased ones are able to leave the hell temporarily. Thus, foods-offerings are made to benefit the ghosts before they go back to the hell and continue their suffering. Pchum Ben is also believed to benefit the deceased ones in heaven and the ones who have reincarnated.

Pchum Ben Celebration
In Cambodia, Pchum Ben is observed as a three-days holiday so that Cambodian people are able to perform Pchum Ben tradition earnestly. During Pchum Ben, people usually visit the temple and offer food to Buddhist monks alternately in the hope that the offerings will benefit their deceased ancestors indirectly.

In some areas, the offerings are not given to the monks but being thrown through the air or to the rice field to be received by the ghosts of the dead. The purpose and tradition of Pchum Ben in Cambodia is quite similar to Hungry Ghost Festival in Taiwan and Chūgen in Japan.

Happy Pchum Ben 2013 !
Happy Cambodian Ancestor’s Day 2013 !