Heavy spending for Chinese New Year

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Decorations on sale in Phnom Penh to mark the Year of the Rooster. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Chinese-Cambodians have been busier than usual buying decorations and religious items for Chinese Year New which starts today.
 
Shops yesterday were full of customers looking for decorations and other religious items. Flower venders near Sampov Meas pagoda in Phnom Penh were flooded with customers and sellers of roasted pig, a main dish during the holiday, received large orders.
 
The business of selling decorations and religious items for Chinese New Year is a growing trend because people’s incomes are increasing, said Hak Seng Hong, owner of a shop selling Chinese New Year goods near Orussey Market, yesterday.
 
“We have seen that people of Chinese descent are spending more money on these items because their incomes are increasing year after year. They spend a lot on celebrating religious ceremonies,” he said.
 
Each family spends an average of $100 on decorations and other items while private companies spend up to $500 depending on the size of the company, Mr. Seng Hong said.
 
Expenses for families and companies depend on how big the company is and the financial situation of each family, said Taing Sok Kim, owner of another shop selling decorations for Chinese New Year.
 
“If the company is big, they spend a lot on decorations. If small, they spend a small amount, maybe $50,” she said. “The real Chinese-blooded Cambodian families always spend a lot.”
 
Not just Cambodian people, but Chinese people living in Cambodia also purchase these items from her shop, Ms. Sok Kim said.
 
Mr. Seng Hong and Ms. Sok Kim both said that Chinese New Year was the time of year they saw the highest sales – higher when compared with Khmer New Year, Pchum Ben and Christmas Eve.
 
Vath Rachny, a customer looking for decorations in the shop, said she spent about $250 for Chinese New Year and her expenses were growing every year.
 
“Buying decorations just costs about $50 to $60 but food, drinks, fruit and flowers are costly,” she said, adding that since her family’s total income was increasing, expenses on religious ceremonies was rising as well.
 
Spending for Chinese New Year is higher than Khmer New Year and Pchum Ben Day, Ms. Rachny said, explaining that many items are needed for Chinese New Year, particularly roasted pig, which is costly.
 
The price of roasted pig around Chinese New Year is quite similar to a normal day, a man named Mab selling roasted pig near Orussey Market said.
 
“The price increases a bit compared with normal days because there are many customers at this time,” he said. “I received 200 orders for roasted pig from customers.”
 
According to Mr. Mab, a roasted pig weighing seven or eight kilograms costs $40.
 
The sale of plum blossom flowers is also high before Chinese New Year.
 
Kun Sarath, a plum blossom flower seller from Pursat province who has his flowers displayed near Sampov Meas pagoda in Phnom Penh, said business was good despite there being many other sellers.
 
“Some people dare to spend over $100 for plum blossom flowers, but normal customers spend $20 to $30 for a small branch of the flowers,” he said.

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