Almost every year we celebrate the Pre-water festival in Battambang.
Pre-water Festival means we celebrate before the real Festival. Why? because we need to select the best boat racing team to compete in the real Festival in Phnom Penh in November.
The festival marks a reversal of the flow between the Mekong River and Tonle Sap rivers. because of the number of water deposited throughout the time of year, the Tonle Sap river becomes therefore swollen with water that it reverses the direction of its flow and flows upstream to Tonle Sap lake.
The festival marks the change of the flow back to its normal direction, signifying the end of the season. basically, the festival is a time to offer thanks to the rivers as they supply the region with fertile farming land and lots of fish.
The festival is concentrated on boat races and concerts. The roots of the boat races will be derived back to the days of the Angkorian kings who would train and judge the fighting skills of their water primarily based warriors by holding competitions on the river. These trials successively honored the naval victories of the Khmer empire beneath the leadership of Jayavarman VII within the twelfth century.
Water Festival is divided into 3 main programs
- Ak Ambok: is named after the rice dish which forms part of the Bon Om Tuk ceremony. Rice is fried in the husk and then pounded with a giant pestle. The husks are removed and the special rice mixed with coconut and banana. This traditional Khmer dish is sold throughout the festival: Ak Ambok, Sampheah Preah Khae, and Bandaet Pratip
- Sampeah Preah Khae: a ceremony in which salutations are made to the moon. After the Sampeah Preah Khae ceremony, people gather at a pagoda at midnight for Ak Ambok.
- Bandaet Pratip: a ceremony in which salutations are made to the moon. After the Sampeah Preah Khae ceremony, people gather at a pagoda at midnight for Ak Ambok.
Advantages of Pre-Water Festival:
* keep our traditional celebration alive
* to find the best team for the competition in Phnom Penh
* promote tourism (through cultural and traditional celebrations and a lot more)
* exhibition ( buy and sell local products and exported products from neighboring countries with promotions or discounts)
* people are able to enjoy their time with their beloved family or friends or sweetheart.
Where we celebrate: along the Sangker River in the center of Battambang town
When we celebrate: during the full moon days of October usually
How we celebrate: within 3 or 4 days
– in the afternoon we start the boat racing
– In the early evening after boat racing we get the firework the lantern flew to let off the night
– the exhibition starts in the early afternoon too, with food, drinks, clothes, vehicles, electronic devices, services and more)
– there are amusement areas and concerts, so some people would love to dance.
– there will be medium and small boats flowing along the river on the last night of the celebration
Disadvantage: kids get lost if their parents are not careful, heavy traffic, crowded places, and trash are thrown almost everywhere.
It seems like the security is better from year to year.
Locally people love this festival so much.
Note: I’ll keep updating this post and add more pictures.