The first day of Pchum Ben began yesterday with Phnom Penh residents visiting pagodas in the city to honor ancestors before traveling to the provinces over the weekend.
The 15-day religious is used to honor relatives and loved ones who have passed away by visiting pagodas and offering prayers, food, drinks, incense, flowers and money. Based on the lunar calendar, Pchum Ben starts on the last day of the waning moon. This year the festival will end on Oct 9.
Dok Narin, secretary of state at the Ministry of Cults and Religion, said he visited several pagodas in Phnom Penh including Langka, Toul Tumpoung, Ounalom and Mohamuntry and noticed a higher attendance compared to last year.
He added that at some pagodas there were not enough parking spaces for the visitors’ cars and predicted more people would be driving to their home provinces during Pchum Ben.
“I observed the number on the first day [in Phnom Penh] and it looked higher than previous years as people are getting richer [because there are more cars],” Mr Narin said. “People will travel more to their home villages because the roads are good and they can drive quickly.”
Pol Phiethey, deputy chief of Phnom Penh municipal police, said on Friday that the holiday started safely and that there have been no crimes reported related to Pchum Ben.
“Relating to security issues, there is no problem,” Mr Phiethey said. “There is no crime happening.”