The Cambodian government has decided to cancel this year’s Water Festival in Phnom Penh out of respect for the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister said in a circular notice that the celebration on the Tonle Sap River in front of the capital’s Royal Palace, scheduled for November 27-29, will be cancelled for the second year in a row, although the festival will be allowed to continue as usual in the provinces.
Last year’s Water Festival boat races were cancelled due to the most severe flooding the country had seen in a decade.
Tuesday’s circular stated that during the time slated for this year’s festival, the government and people across the country should pay their respects to the late King Father's spirit.
The notice added that government officials, employers and workers will still have a three day holiday from work, as scheduled earlier in the month, when the prime minister announced that the Water Festival would be celebrated as normal this year.
Son Thoeun, 36, a resident of Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district, said yesterday that he agreed with the decision to cancel the festival in Phnom Penh.
“If we celebrated the boat racing this year, I would not have come to the festival,” he said. “I could not have joined in the happiness at a time when our beloved king has died and while our country is mourning his death.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at [email protected]