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23:10 | 14/04/2014

Traditional Chôl Chnăm Thmây Tet of Khmer people

(LVH) – Dated 14th April 2014, at the Khmer temple population, Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism, for the first time, Khmer people held the traditional Chôl Chnăm Thmây Tet festival (New year celebration) in the solemn and scared atmosphere by which introduces the unique characteristic of Buddha customs and beliefs of Southern Khmer people to visitors.

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Together with the traditional Lunar New Year Festival of other Vietnam ethnic groups, Chôl Chnăm Thmây Tet of Khmer people still maintain the unique customs. Traditional Chôl Chnăm Thmây Tet or called “New Year Celebration”. Besides the significance that New Year will bring good lucks, it also has special significance as the occasion so that Buddhists express their respect to the Buddhist as well as teach people about the filial piety, respect and gratitude to the ancestors, grandparents and parents.

Accordingly, Traditional Tet of Khmer people occurred in three days (from 14th to 16th April 2014) at Khmer temple population, Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism and the New Year welcome atmosphere occurred solemnly with the participation of Khmer people and Theravada Khmer Buddhist as well as the numerous visitors from all over the world.

 

Monks pray for thanksgivings and wish happiness for Buddhists 

The first day (Chool sangkran), Buddhists offered rice and banked the sand mountain. From the early morning, Buddhists offered rice to monks and pagoda’s wardens. Responding, Monks chanted and made thanksgiving to people who made these foods and brought foods to the pagoda as well as to the hungry souls before eating and then monks prayed and blessed happiness for the Buddhists.

 

Procession ceremony of Great Calendar and Four Great Heavenly Kings 

In the morning, at the good time, Buddhists brought offerings: incense and fruits to the pagoda for the procession ceremony of Great Calendar and Four Great Heavenly Kings. Offerings were place on the red lacquer trimmed with gold tray and solemnly on the Buddhist’s head. The procession ceremony of Great calendar was carried out under the instruction of two Acha, Buddhists lined into three rounds around the Central Chamber, then Buddhists worshipped Three Refuges and together with monks prayed and chanted for a peaceful New Year in the Central Chamber of Khmer pagoda. 

 

Buddhists worshipped Three Refuges and together with monks prayed and chanted for a peaceful New Year in the Central Chamber of Khmer pagoda

The ceremony of banking the sand mountain was organized in the morning. Buddhists took sand to the pagoda yard and cleaned it before offering it to the monks under the instruction of two Acha. Buddhists banked sand into several small mountains in eight directions and the ninth mountain was placed in the centre of Central Chamber as the symbol of the universe centre and the sustainability of universe, heaven and earth in nine directions. This ritual had long-term evidence expressing the human wishes for lucks and happiness.

 

The sand mountain was decorated with flag, tree branches, incense, candle and white cloth strings and scented water.

The sand mountain was decorated with flag, tree branches, incense, candle and white cloth strings and scented water. From the sand mountain – the centre of universe, Acha tied the white thread to connect all sand mountains to form a circle as the universe connection. The next was the ceremony making the mountain become the Buddhist and the following day was the ceremony of becoming a monk for the mountain.

According to the custom, Traditional Chôl Chnăm Thmây Tet of Khmer people would contine in the next two days (15th and 16th April) with rituals such as the ritual of bathing Buddha, placing the bowls of monks, monk eating. This was the precious chance for tourists who had no occasion to arrive the South in order to learn about the unique customs and practices of river people as well as contribute to preserve the essence value of cultural identity of Vietnam people.

Pham Huong

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