Posted by: Simon & Becci | April 9, 2013

A smashing time at Khmer New Year


Next weekend is Khmer New Year in Cambodia. Its the biggest holiday time here, akin to Christmas in the UK, where people have time off work and travel across the country to spend time with their families. Those who follow our blog regularly may recall what we wrote last year that explains a bit more.

Whilst Christmas dinner for my family in the UK is not complete without a game of charades, Cambodian families celebrate with a very different sort of game at Khmer New Year. So, we thought we’d give it a go as part of our celebration service on Sunday where 100 people, including lots of guests, gathered together.


All you need is one large stick, a blindfold, a bit of rope and a number of small clay pots. Here’s what you do next….


Choose someone, blindfold them and spin them around several times until they are suitably disorientated


Give them a large stick and point them in the right direction


Get everyone to shout instructions at the same time to ‘help’ them find the clay pot that is suspended in mid air


Give the stick a might swing and see what happens…

Sadly I do not have photographic evidence of what happened next. Some people swing and miss (and everyone laughs) whilst others (including Steve pictured above) manage to smash the pot into hundreds of pieces that splinter everywhere! The pot is also filled with a fragranced talcum powder that falls onto the victim below. Children then cover themselves, and anyone else they can find, in the powder.

Just to make your skin crawl, we have also heard rumours that some people fill the pots with snakes or spiders instead of powder!

We had a wonderful afternoon together – here’s a few more pictures of what we got up to:


Khmer slapstick drama meets the story of the lost son from Luke 15 in the Bible


A quick game of “Banana, Apple” where contestants need to lean forwards, backwards and to each side depending on the command given.


“Banana, Apple” is always very funny to watch


Food together – here I am being force-fed a deep fried wonton…


Tables for 60 people inside – a picnic outside for others


As darkness fell, the music level was pumped up for an hour of Khmer dancing



  1. lol @ ‘forcefed’, it must have been so hard for you!
    Loved playing that game on my first trip…although it was a plastic bottle we used instead of a clay jar.
    Have a safe and fun trip to Manilla – give our best to Fe and Eden 🙂

  2. looks amazing fun! Made the ‘mistake’ of clicking on last year’s link and being sucked in by our blog of our visit out last year. I had to hold in the laughter. Was it really only a year ago..?

  3. It’s great to document how a time of fun together doesn’t necessarily need to involve huge expenses or even preparations. Simple little games are often the most exciting! Thank you – and have a fruitful and rewarding time in Manila. Many many blessings ….

  4. Great to see many new faces! Having a good time together.
    Can’t wait to be there!
    Love Gerry & Grethel

  5. In Germany they have a similar game at children’s parties, though somewhat tamer. The stick is smaller and there is a saucepan on the floor somewhere, upside down over some chocolate bar or similar. The blindfolded child has to hit the floor while everyone else shouts instructions (hot! even hotter!!) until they hit the saucepan and get to eat the chocolate.

  6. Haven’t heard of Banana, Apple game–something else to look forward to playing in the Summer when you are here! A really interesting blog-thanks both. Wonderful to see all the smiling faces and the fun generated. Well done! Enjoy Manila –look forward to more fascinating photos! Ma x

  7. […] have followed our blog over the past few years may recall a couple of posts from April 2012 and April 2013 about the annual Cambodian New Year celebration, and its that time of year […]

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