Prime Minister Hun Manet issued a February 28 circular instructing state institutions to spread awareness about National Cultural Day, an occasion which aims to encourage the public to pay closer attention to their culture, as well as its preservation.

Themed “Youth for National Culture”, the 26th National Cultural Day will be observed on March 3. 

The circular explained that the event is part of the national policy on culture, and aims to ensure the sustainable and inclusive preservation and development of the Kingdom’s unique culture.

The prime minister instructed all ministries, institutions, units and sub-national administrations to organise celebratory activities and social media posts to mark the day.

He advised the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts to prepare documents to increase public awareness of the day.

Manet said the ministry should instruct the APSARA National Authority (ANA) – a body tasked with managing the Angkor Archaeological Park – the National Authority for Preah Vihear (NAPV), the National Authority for Sambor Prei Kuk (NASPK) and all capital-provincial culture departments to share their achievements relating to the sustainable preservation and development of world heritage sites.

He added that the ministry should also work with community groups and the private sector to promote national culture.

The premier also ordered the ministry to collaborate with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to share the national culture with students and showcase Cambodian traditions on school campuses, and told the Ministry of Information to instruct state and private media outlets to play their parts.

Chhort Bunthang, a Cultural Relations, Tourism and Education research officer at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, believes it is important for the Cambodian people to observe the special day, in order to acknowledge their national identity and honour the cultural wealth and civilisation of their ancestors. 

He added that when today’s leaders celebrate the day, the younger generation are made aware of the fact that their ancestors created something unique.

“The young generation should be proud of what our ancestors left to them, because our culture confirms our history and our clear identity. We are descended from people who did not depend on other countries for growth but developed our own unique cultural heritage,” he said.

He explained that the cultural heritage of Cambodia’s ancestors attracts many visitors to the Kingdom. It contributes to the income of local communities, as well as the national budget, through exhibition of artefacts and performances of traditional dances and music.

“When young people understand their culture and their history, they will participate in its preservation,” he added.

National Cultural Day is observed annually on March 3 to express gratitude to all generations of the Khmer ancestors whose sacrifices created cultural wealth for succeeding generations.