Cambodians have spent the last week preparing their homes, businesses and public areas to welcome in the Khmer New Year, which begins today and leaves behind the Year of Monkey for the Year of Rooster.
Devada Kiriney Devi—a Khmer deity that represents the Year of the Rooster—is known to “eat beans and sesame,” said Non Nget, Phnom Penh chief monk of the Mohanikaya sect. “[This] is a sign that people could face some problem growing bean and sesame crops,” Non Nget said. There are seven Khmer Devadas, rotated over a seven-year cycle.
“New Year’s Day is a time for Cambodian people to gather and pay respect to their ancestors who have passed away, and it is also a good opportunity for children” to thank their parents for giving birth to them, Non Nget said.
He said that this year’s Devada is the fifth daughter of the Buddhist deity Kabil Mohaprum and will arrive at 12:48 am today, carrying a weapon in her right hand.
“Carrying a weapon is not a good sign. People should remain calm and think before they act, otherwise we could face turmoil in society,” said Chum Sambor, 45, a fortuneteller practicing outside the Royal Palace on Wednesday.
Chum Sambor said that those born in the Year of the Rooster should take care for their safety or risk serious conflict.
“I tell my clients to work hard and be gentle and honest, otherwise they won’t find happiness or luck,” she said.
Non Nget said he was unable to predict whether this year will bring good luck or bad. “But anyone who prefers to trouble other people would not find luck or happiness in life,” he said.
He added that sweeping out the dirt from in and around one’s home is akin to sweeping out bad luck from the previous year. “Everything should be cleaned, including the individual’s mind,” he said.