January 1st – New Year’s Day
Although an official holiday, until a few years ago not widely celebrated in Cambodia. Now, not only expats and tourists attend the fireworks at the riverside to welcome the New Year, but thousands of Khmers as well.
January 7th – Victory over genocide day
Mixed feelings on this day as it marks the Vietnamese invasion, which ended the Khmer Rouge regime.
January 28th – Chinese New Year
This is the New Year of both the Chinese and Vietnamese lunar calendar. Not an official holiday, but widely celebrated in Cambodia. All shops are closed.
13 & 14 April – Khmer New Year
It is called “Khmer” New Year because Khmer are the dominant ethnic group within the nation. Ninety-five percent of Cambodia’s 15 million people follow Theravada Buddhism, which is also the official religion. The calendar they follow is deeply steeped in their Buddhist religious traditions. The Cambodian New Year falls on either the 13th or 14th of April, depending on the dictates of an ancient horoscope reading called “Maha Sangkran.”
3rd May – Royal ploughing festival
The Royal Ploughing Ceremony in Cambodia is considered an ancient royal rite. It is celebrated by a number of countries in Asia as a way of marking the traditional commencement of the season for rice growing.
13 – 16th May – King’s Birthday
Due to the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot, holidays like the King’s Birthday play an important role in reminding Cambodian citizens about the importance of having a government with limited powers. This holiday celebrates the birth and coronation of Cambodia’s current monarch, King Norodom Sihamoni. The Birthday of King Norodom Sihamoni is celebrated on May 13 each year. It is followed by two additional celebration days. The King’s Birthday is one of 25 public holidays that are celebrated in Cambodia each year.
8-10th October – Pchum Ben
Pchum Ben is a unique Cambodian Buddhist festival that is held for two straight weeks from the first till the fifteenth of the Khmer month of Potrbotr.
Pchum Ben is a public holiday in Cambodia that follows the period called “Vassa,” a kind of “Buddhist Lent,” and has been kept with great devotion by the Khmer people for longer than anyone can remember.
November 9th – Cambodian independence day
Independence Day in Cambodia falls on November 9th, the day in 1953 when its independence from France was finally recognised.
The Khmer people of Cambodia had long maintained their own identity and had often had their own nation in the ancient past, but during the colonial era, they fell under French rule for a 90-year period.
December 3rd – Angkor Wat international half marathon
From the beginning , this internationally recognized half marathon raises relief for the victims of antipersonnel mines in Cambodia. With the support of many Japanese running enthusiasts, the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon NGO started the race in 1996, with participants from all over the world. Attended by many landmine victims, this great international race takes place inside the ruins of Angkor Wat, a World Heritage Site, and has been held annually to give the victims courage and hope, as well as to appeal to the world to support the “ban on the use of antipersonnel mines.”