Pchum Ben starts up amid calls for safety measures

Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly Speaker Heng Samrin called on authorities at all levels to ensure safety, security and public order by directing traffic flows during the 15-day Pchum festival Ben, from September 22 to October 5.

Cambodian Buddhists will observe Pchum Ben for 15 days from September 22 to October 6, with the main festivities celebrated from October 5 to 7, ending one day after the main “great offering” day, or Ben Thom, coinciding on October 6. with the new moon. The feast is dedicated to their ancestors and is an opportunity for families to come together.

“Please protect safety, security and public order. Direct the flow of traffic to make it easier for people and tourists during this festival, ”Hun Sen said on the first day of the festival.

He also called on the population to continue to prevent Covid-19 transmissions by practicing the three dos and don’ts.

The Minister of Cults and Religions, Chhit Sokhon, said that in order to run the festival smoothly and in accordance with Cambodian Buddhist customs and traditions, religious services across the country as well as pagodas must follow the guidelines set out by the government, the Ministry of Health and local authorities to prevent further transmission of Covid-19.

“All municipalities and provinces [religion departments] must greatly facilitate the enhancement of their festivities by paying special attention to the concerns of the monks as we celebrate the 15-day Pchum Ben festival as well as the Kathina festival in accordance with our Buddhist traditions.

“They also need to wear masks, take temperatures, maintain personal hygiene, wash their hands with soap or disinfectant, and distance themselves socially and physically from each other. Practice the three dos and don’ts, ”Sokhon said.

In the capital, nearly 2,000 police will be deployed to various locations, including more than 150 pagodas and along the roads leading to the pagodas to direct the flow of people bringing donations there for the monks.

National Assembly Speaker Heng Samrin called on the population to remain vigilant as Cambodia continues to strive to contain the pandemic.

“Please follow all sanitary and administrative guidelines and measures. Honor our heritage and national traditions by making sure the festival runs smoothly, without any increased transmission of Covid-19,” he said on September 22.

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Susan W. Lloyd