Siem Reap Local Customs

  • Local Customs
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  • Family Picnic at Tonle Sap
    Family Picnic at Tonle Sap
    by AngMimi
  • A mini shrine
    A mini shrine
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Most Recent Local Customs in Siem Reap

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    Royal Ploughing Ceremony

    by Cathy&Gary Written Mar 21, 2009

    The Royal Ploughing Ceremony is celebrated in May at the beginning of the rainy season and is the first of the traditional agrarian festivals.

    This day marks the start of rice planting for the country.
    In times past on a day determined by Palace astrologers, the King traced the first furrows in the capitals sacred rice field, inaugurating the Ploughing season.

    Today a ceremonial furrow is ploughed in the park of the National Museum and the scared cows are offered selected foods and drinks and what they choose foretells the following years crops.

    The ritual is performed by a man, the King of Meakh, who leads the yoke and plough. A woman follows, Queen Me Hour, who then sows the seeds.

    After circling the rice filed three times, the procession stops at a chapel where Brahmins invoke the protection of the Gods.
    For this ceremony both men and women wear brightly colored traditional Khmer costumes.

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    Local Custom's

    by Cathy&Gary Updated Mar 21, 2009

    Cambodian culture and customs has a rich and varied history dating back many centuries and has been heavily influenced by India. In turn, Cambodia has also greatly influenced Thailand and Laos.

    Cambodian teachings include that if a person does not wake up before sunrise, they are lazy.
    You must tell your parents or elders where you are going and what time you will be home.
    If you slam a door then you must have a bad temper, always sit with your legs straight down and not crossed, (crossing your legs shows you are impolite) and always let other people talk more than you.

    The greater a persons age, the greater level of respect must be shown to them. Everyone in Khmer culture is given a hierarchical title before their name, in some cases names are shortened with the title added before the name is given.

    Some elders are referred to by a family title even though there may be no relation, out of respect to their seniority in life. Referring to someone by the wrong title is a sign of disrespect and would be taken as improper parenting or lack of respect for the elders.

    Most Cambodians wear a checkered scarf which is called a Krama.
    This scarf is used for many purposes such as for style, protection from the sun, an aid for your feet when climbing trees, a hammock for children, a towel or even as a sarong.
    Under the Khmer Rouge all Khmer were forced to wear a red checkered krama.

    In Khmer culture a persons head is believed to contain the persons soul, so it is taboo to touch or point your feet towards the head.
    It is also disrespectful to point or sleep with your feet pointing at another person as the feet are the lowest part of the body and considered impure.


    In Khmer weddings it is the groom who carries the brides scarf and stays with the brides family, this symbolizes that he is from afar and marrying into her family.

    The wedding ritual takes three days and the bride and groom wear garments decorated with jewellery as a sign of respect to their parents and are surrounded by family and guests.

    They also pray to the monks for a happy life.

    Today most Khmers in Cambodia and overseas celebrate with both a traditional Khmer wedding and western style wedding.

    Khmer Classical Dance

    Khmer Classical Dance is also known as Khmer Royal Ballet or Khmer Court Dance, it is a form of dance originally performed only for Royalty.

    In the Khmer language it is called robam preah reachea trop which means "dances of Royal wealth."

    The dances have many elements in common with Thai classical dance, more than likely as a result of the Royal Khmer Court exchanging culture with the Royal Thai court throughout the post Angkor period.

    Khmer and Thai classical dance costumes also were very similar but the Khmer dance and costumes have changed slightly due to reforms bought in by the former Queen of Cambodia Kossamak Nearireath.

    During the mid 20th century Khmer Classical Dance was introduced to the public where it is now a celebrated icon of Khmer culture and is often performed during public events, holidays and for tourists.

    Vernacular dance (or social dance) are dances which are danced at social gatherings.


    Though it is acceptable to wear smart casual dress to most temples and pagodas - including those at Angkor - visitors to the Royal Palace's Silver Pagoda are expected to dress a little more formally, with men wearing long trousers and women in long skirts.

    Shoes are generally removed before entering pagodas.

    Cambodians greet each with a bow and a prayer like gesture called a Sompeah, the younger or lower ranked person normally initiating the gesture.

    Acting calmly and quietly - especially when under duress is recommended, while displays of bad temper, especially in public, will make a bad situation worse.

    Permission should be sought before taking photographs of people, especially monks and hill tribe villagers.

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    People of Cambodia

    by Cathy&Gary Written Mar 21, 2009

    Cambodia is bordered to the North by Thailand and Laos, to the East and the South by Vietnam and to the South and the West by the Gulf of Thailand.

    Approx. population is 14,000,000 Million
    Language Khmer, secondary languages: English and French
    Religion 95% Buddhist with the balance being Muslim, Christian and animist.

    About 90-95 percent of the people are Khmer ethnic. The remaining 5-10 percent include Chinese-Khmers, Khmer Islam or Chams, ethnic hill-tribe people, known as the Khmer Loeu and Vietnamese.

    Approximately 10 percent of the population lives in Phnom Penh, the capital, making Cambodia largely a country of rural dwellers, farmers and artisans.

    The Khmers would have to be one of the friendliest people on this planet, everyone we have met are always happy, willing to share and loved talking to us.

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    Another Pic of the...

    by XKuger Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Another Pic of the Magnificient Angkor Wat in daylight. The first Pic was taken as sunrise over the Angkor wat

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Siem Reap Local Customs

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