Apart from the internationally touted Angkor Wat millennium celebration, Takeo provincial authorities are organizing a low-profile show at the 11th-century Phnom Chisor temple.
The highlight of the two-day celebration starting Dec 31 will be the launch of nearly 2,000 traditional hot air balloons and kites from each of the province’s 10 districts, said Takeo Governor Kep Chuk Tema.
The balloons will be released after dark on the night of Dec 31, and the kites will be flown the following day “to rid us, our community and society of evil and bring about happiness, peace and prosperity,” the governor said this week.
Traditional dance and silk weavings from Takeo province also will be featured.
Officials are expecting the celebration to be a boon for local businesses and a way of promoting Phnom Chisor, which is just an hour’s drive south of Phnom Penh.
“The main purpose of celebrating the new millennium will be… to improve the cultural and tourism sectors in the area,” Kep Chuk Tema said. “This is a really good and cheap celebration for the poor people” who are unable to travel to Siem Reap. There will be no entrance fee.
Dek Sarin, deputy director of the Ministry of Culture’s cultural development department, supported the idea of another millennium celebration, especially at such an ancient temple as Phnom Chisar.
Officials are expecting as many as 10,000 celebrants from Kandal and Kompong Speu provinces and Phnom Penh, Kep Chuk Tema said. Some 500 police will provide security and some villagers have been asked to take in visitors into their homes.
The entire celebration could cost as much as 180 million riel—about $45,000—with all of the money coming from donations. He said the province had about half of that, but was unconcerned either way.
Even if the province doesn’t collect all the money, he said, the festival will continue as planned.