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UYFC holding "Let's All Go Wrap Num Ansom" ahead of Pchum Ben

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A woman gets ready to sell Num Ansom in the capital's Por Sen Chey district in 2020. Heng Chivoan

UYFC holding "Let's All Go Wrap Num Ansom" ahead of Pchum Ben

The Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC) will organise an event called "Let's All Go Wrap Num Ansom" at its headquarters in Phnom Penh on September 17-18 – or days seven and eight of the 15-day Pchum Ben Observance.

Num Ansom are the traditional Khmer sticky rice cakes popularly eaten on the holiday.

The event is free and open to the general public, including non-UYFC members.

For the 15 days following the harvest moon, Cambodian Buddhists observe Pchum Ben – which falls from September 11 to 26 this year – the first 14 days of which are enumerated as the first-through-14th Kan Ben Days, where families typically gather at pagodas, bringing food and other offerings for monks.

The main festivities will be celebrated from September 24-26, starting on the 14th Kan Ben Day and ending a day after the primary day of “great offering”, or Ben Thom, on September25, which coincides with the new moon. The holiday is dedicated to blessing the spirits of the dead and is an occasion for families to get together.

In 2015, at the Angkor Sangkran event in Siem Reap, Cambodians cooked a giant Ansom cake, breaking the world record for the largest and longest Ansom ever in the world. The giant cake weighed 3,200kg when it was raw and, when cooked, weighed in at up to four tonnes and took nearly 50 hours to cook.

The record-setting giant cake was 1m high and about 5m long. According to the Cambodia Chefs' Association, in order to wrap and cook the giant Ansom cake, they needed a team of 100 chefs and assistants, all of whom were Khmer.

Som Ratana, the spokesman for the 2015 Angkor Sangkran, said at the time that he considered the giant cake that broke the world record a source of pride for the Khmer nation and a fun way to publicise and teach about the Khmer cultural identity to the world.

No record is on the line at the UYFC event, but attendees will likely get to eat their fill of Num Ansom and have some fun celebrating the holiday.

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