It is the 3rd Official New year we have right now. It is the Khmer New Year and it is big holiday here. It is not everyone that is so privilege to live in a country where they celebrate 3 new year’s?? For those who do not know, we have normal New Year on 31st December and then Chinees New Year and right now, Khmer New Year. More on that later on.
The weather here is totally crazy. Rain in April!!! Well, as Namibians, we are enjoying it a lot, bit hot with temps up to 39C and 84% humidity. Nice and toasty…… We are leaving for Stung Treng and Ratanakiri on Thursday, with 4 Pinoy friends. Just taking advantage of the holiday. Please pray for us for safe travels as roads are really crowded with everything from drunk drivers to cows and people on bicycles.
Please pray for the Khmer church as most of them do not celebrate Easter. Strange that Easter fall on the same time as Khmer New Year and that the church does not celebrate it. Something that I hope they will chance in years to come. Jesus paid the prize and is our hope, our hero. We hope that this Easter will be a feast for you all. We will definitely not forget the most important time as Christians. May God be our focus in this time. Twans preached yesterday at the River of Life Fellowship. We are so thankful to see some of the members and students come even though everyone else on holiday. Their faithfulness is a testimony to others. Pray for the members. There is a lot of strife in their homes and they ask for prayer. Continue to pray for Ovaltine. He is faithful to come to church, but still struggles with alcohol addiction and wrong friends.
Please pray for Quinton Calitz, Toinette’s little brother, who, as we speak, is having an operation to remove a growth from his lungs. He has history of cancer. Pray that he will be safe and pray for the surgeons to have wisdom in how to handle this case. Pray for Andrea, his wife and little Liam. Ouma Paula is there to help when he is coming out of the hospital.
Please pray for our friends, Willie and Marietjie in Cape Town. Marietjie got Bursitis in both her hips and is not doing so well. They will see the doctor later about what to do about it.
Continue to pray for our friends in Tanzania, Jacob and Carmen and their children. Read about their challenges with serving there.
Something about Khmer New Year
It is called “Khmer” New Year because Khmer are the dominant ethnic group within the nation. Ninety-five precent 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.”
Khmer New Year arrives just after the harvest has been gathered and safely stored, which is significant since the majority of the population are still involved in agriculture. In fact, an earlier lunar calendar was abandoned in favour of the present solar-based one in order to ensure the holiday fell just after harvest time and before the rainy season.
The celebrations begin on New Year’s Day, but they last for three consecutive days. On the first day of celebration, Cambodians dress in fine clothes, go to family shrines with lit candles and incense to burn, and thank Buddha for his teachings by bowing to the ground to his image three consecutive times. To bring good luck on this day, the Khmer wash their faces with holy water in the morning, wash their chests at noontime, and wash their feet just before going to sleep.
On the second day, great attention is given to helping the poor through charity. A special dedication ceremony to family ancestors is also attended at a monastery. On the third and final day, the images of Buddha are washed in a mixture of water and perfume, which is meant to symbolize the washing away of evil deeds. Elders are also washed in this way, and doing this is thought to bring good luck, happiness, and long life. Good advice is also sought upon washing parents and grandparents in this manner
Some of the Cambodian New Year customs include:
Erecting a sandy mound on the grounds of a temple. The mound is formed so as to represent the Buddha in the centre and his four favourite disciples all around him.
Among many special foods prepared this time of year is kralan, a cake of steamed rice, coconut, coconut milk, beans, and peas. It is pressed inside a hollow stick of bamboo and slow-roasted over a fire.
Numerous games are played, both by children and adults. Street corners are crowded with people dancing and playing these games, and passers-by often have water thrown at them.
Hope that you also have a great new year ahead of you.