Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Buddhist leaders say no to pagoda events in New Year



Buddhist leaders say no to pagoda events in New Year

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Traditional Khmer New Year celebration will be banned this year. Post staff

Buddhist leaders say no to pagoda events in New Year

The chief monks of two Buddhist orders delivered a message on Wednesday instructing monk leaders and pagoda chiefs across the country to call off the traditional Khmer New Year celebrations.

Patriarch Bou Kry, of the Thammayut sect, wrote a letter saying the decision to ban gatherings was made to adhere to Ministry of Health instructions to prevent and stop the spread of Covid-19.

The ministry had earlier decided to shut down religious gatherings. Prime Minister Hun Sen also addressed the issue at a press conference at the Peace Place on Tuesday.

The letter read: “I decided to issue an announcement to the chiefs of monks in the capital and provinces calling off the traditional Khmer New Year celebrations which fall on April 13, at 8:45pm and gatherings in pagodas nationwide.”

Buddhist Supreme Patriarch Non Nget wrote a similar letter saying that all pagodas had to avoid mass gatherings. However, he requested Buddhists to prepare sacred offerings such as candles, incense, flowers, cakes and fruits to honour their respective ancestors.

Ministry of Religions and Cults spokesman Seng Somony said on Wednesday that the prime minister had decided not to allow the people to take days off during the holiday and advised against mass gathering at pagodas.

“Allowing all monks to call off the New Yew celebrations means that gatherings at pagodas to recite prayers and playing games like Bohs Ongkunh, throw heart-shaped pillows, tug of war and skipping are banned,” he said.

For the call to be effective, he said monks, civil servants and local authorities had to collaborate to disseminate information and educate the public.

“In the past, during Khmer New Year, when they played Bohs Ongkunh, tug of war and other games, the local authorities would help to provide security and maintain order. But when there are no such activities, the authorities are involved in protecting safety and security,” he said.

He requested that Buddhists prepare religious services at their respective homes, but with few participants. They have to maintain a safe distance from others as announced by the ministry. Even when sprinkling holy water, they have to be vigilant, he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Lost in translation: ‘Starvation’ in capital’s designated red zones

    “DACH bay” is a Khmer slang meaning a “loss of income”, that could also be literally translated to «deprived of rice”, which alludes to starvation. However, civil society organisation (CSO) officials have independently confirmed the government’s prior assertions that there are no cases of