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People offer food to monks during sombre KNY

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
People offer food to monks at a pagoda in Phnom Penh. KT/ Chor Sokunthea

Pagodas opened in the Kingdom during this year’s Khmer New Year period to allow people to offer alms to monks but prohibited gatherings in compliance with the government’s efforts to prevent a coronavirus spread.

During Khmer New Year, families gather at pagodas to pray to ancestors, offer alms to monks and take part in traditional games or dance parties.

A family pours water on a Buddha statue as they offer Khmer New Year prayers in Phnom Penh. KT/Chor Sokunthea

However, for this year, the Cambodia Monk Committee informed all pagodas in Kingdom to cancel New Year celebrations over the pandemic.

Lok Ven, 55, a senior layman at Sarawon Pagoda in Phnom Penh, said yesterday that the pagoda had followed the Cambodia Monk Committee’s instruction to prohibit New Year gatherings, and selected only a few monks to receive alms from the people.

“This year, not many people visited the pagoda and those who did, came in small numbers to offer alms and pray to their ancestors,” he said. “Most of those who came were older people as many of the younger generation stayed away out of fear over COVID-19.”

Visitors walk through a sanitising gate before entering a pagoda.

Thoung Nang, 63, who visited the Onaloam pagoda in Phnom Penh said yesterday that she went there to pray and offer alms to the monks.

“If we do not visit pagoda’s to offer food or money, which is part of the Khmer New Year tradition, the monks will face a shortage of supplies,” she said.

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