By : May Titthara, Picture by : Touch Sinath
October (and September some years) is the month when Cambodian people celebrate the festival of Phchum Ben. Together with Khmer New Year in April, Phchum Ben is the most important festival in the Khmer religious calendar. Cambodians have faithfully observed the festival every year for as long as anyone can remember.The word 'Ben' in Khmer means to collect; 'Ben' also means to cup or mould cooked rice into portions. To 'Ben Baht' means to collect food to give to monks. The word 'Phchum' means to congregate or to meet together. Regardless how busy they may be during the fifteen days of Phchum Ben, Cambodian people try not to miss a visit to the pagoda to dedicate food and offerings to the dead.