Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona asserted that orchestrating a multi-day event to commemorate Angkor aims to express gratitude to the ancestors and past kings who built the temples.

The gathering also signifies a collective effort to promote diverse activities for the conservation of national heritage.

Sackona, who also serves as head of the APSARA National Authority (ANA), made these remarks during the festival’s prayer ceremony for peace on December 7. The ceremony included offering alms to 131 monks and marked the commencement of the third year of Angkor Thanksgiving.

The ceremony witnessed the presence of Men Sam An, a member of the Supreme Privy Council to the King, Pich Chanmony, the wife of Prime Minister Hun Manet, as well as hundreds of monks, provincial leaders and ANA staff.

She said the event, slated to run through December 16, serves two primary purposes: To celebrate the 31st anniversary of Angkor’s inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List on December 14, 1992, and to commemorate the ancestors and past kings who constructed the temples, bequeathing a culturally and artistically rich heritage for the socio-economic benefit of future generations.

“These festivities are also dedicated to Cambodian ancestors, dignitaries of all generations and national and international experts who have devoted their physical and mental strength to safeguard and preserve our cultural heritage,” said Sackona.

She anticipates that Angkor Thanksgiving will evolve into a collaborative initiative to garner increased private sector support, contributing to societal welfare and the conservation of national heritage. This involvement is not only a noble gesture but also symbolises friendship as well as national and international solidarity in socio-cultural endeavours.

Chanmony said that organising the festival aims to establish a tradition and culture of gratitude, instilling moral values in future generations to remember and appreciate the source and civilisation inherited from their ancestors.

“This occasion will undoubtedly enhance the promotion of Cambodia’s cultural and tourism potential. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the remarkable legacies handed down by the highly skilled ancestors, providing a deeper understanding of the principles outlined in the preamble of the Cambodian Constitution,” she said.

The Angkor Thanksgiving 2023 is scheduled for 10 days, running from December 7 to 16. This marks the third consecutive year of the culture ministry, along with the ANA, hosting this event.