Tue, 31 Mar 2015. Last updated Thu, 25 Jun 2015 09:04
Chol Chnam Thmay Festival is also known as "New Year Festival". This is one of traditional festivals in Mekong River Delta of Khmer people in Vietnam. It is similar to Tet Nguyen Dan festival of Kinh people. The festival lasts for three days of April (from 14th to 16th day). The venues of this festival are local houses and pagodas. Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh approved the organization of Chol Chnam Thmay Festival 2015 as the proposal of Southwestern Standing Steering Committee. The Deputy Prime Minister asked the Southwestern Standing Steering Committee to host and coordinate with local authorities to organize a practical, safe and economical meeting.
Traditional Chol Chnam Thmay Festival in Vietnam of Khmer people has a great significance of welcoming the New Year and new age like Tet Nguyen Dan of Kinh people, with the hope of a lucky year. In addition, Chol Chnam Thmay Festival has a meaning of ending the dry season and beginning the wet season with abundant water to prepare for the next crops. During the time, Khmer people often visit and give best wishes to each other. Chol Chnam Thmay Festival is the New Year Festival of Khmer people in Southern Vietnam. The event is also the New Year Festival of people in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. In addition to the main religion is Buddhism, Khmer people also believe that each year there is a God in heaven (Tevoda) sent to them to take care of their life during a year; and, at the end of year, the God comes back to the heaven. It becomes the traditional festival of the entire community. There are many interesting activities reflecting unique Cham culture held during the festival. Old people will tell fairy stories and legends for their young generations.
All local people prepare carefully for their appearance with new clothes. All houses are renovated, cleaned, decorated, and prepared sufficient food and drink for the New Year. Local people prepare rice, and foodstuff such as cakes, fruits, fish, meat, and vegetables... All are ready for the festival. All daily works are stopped. It is the time for people to take rest. They are so excited to prepare for the festival. They also repair houses and buffalo cages. In a year, Khmer people in general and people in Vinh Long province in particular have many important festivals. Top most important Khmer festivals in Vietnam are Chol Chnam Thmay, Sen Don Ta, and Ok Om Bok. Chol Chnam Thmay Festival has a great significance to Khmer people, as it is the day beginning the New Year, and the time when dry season ends and wet season comes.
This is a chance for organizing traditional cultural and art performances, and a chance for young people to make friends and seek partners. Like traditional New Year Festivals of other ethnic groups, Chol Chnam Thmay Festival of Khmer people in each province, though, has the same meaning; it has different traditional practiced customs in accordance with its own cultural identity.