Posted by: Simon & Becci | April 13, 2015

Suasdey Chnam Thmey!

In other words: Happy Khmer New Year! Those of you who 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 again!

Our celebrations this year started early at our church guest service at the end of March which included several traditional games. One of the games is called “Leak Kanseng” and closely resembles a more violent version of the British game “Duck, Duck, Goose”. Everyone sits in a circle and someone walks around the circumference whilst everyone else sings a song. This person has a scarf in their hands which they drop behind someone’s back. When this happens the person who is sitting needs to grab the scarf and beat the person next to them with it. Their intended target must run around the circle once to get away!

My attempted video is a little dark but gives you the idea….

This morning we had the privilege of witnessing two traditional New Year dance performances at our apartment complex by a group of young people.

The first was the “Blessing Dance” as performed by five girls in traditional dress, which culminates in the throwing of flower petals, representing blessings for the coming year.

The second was the more energetic “Trot dance” which is believed to get rid of bad luck from the previous year, and bring good luck and prosperity for the year ahead. The dance itself centres around a hunter and a deer.

At the end of the dance, Becci, Han-Na and I were asked to give out small gifts (colourful bags) to all of the dancers (whilst they were still performing which proved tricky with the drummers).


I sometimes have to pinch myself when I consider where I live and the kinds of things I get to experience!

One Khmer New Year tradition we have yet to witness is something that happens on day three when children wash their parents and grandparents as a sign of honour and respect, and to obtain good luck and blessing from them for the new year. Maybe something to attempt with our families when we are next in the UK?



  1. What wonderful things you do experience!

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