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International New Years Day

In Cambodia there are three New Year's days. The Western, on Jan 1st, the Chinese New Year on the first day of the First Lunar month, usually in February (this year in Jan) and the Khmer New Year marked by the Songkran festival in April. Though January 1 is considered as official New Year. The universal practice of celebrating the New Year on January 1 was adopted of changes intended at modernizing the country.

The International New Year Day has been adopted. On that day, people offer food to monks at the temple or at a particular site designated by government offices of private organizations. The New Year's Day for the Khmers is the day to male merit and to offer good wishes to those one loves and respects. In the past, people went to ask for blessing from their elders.

To greet the New Year, ranges of uniquely Khmer traditional and cultural festivities are held in different parts of the country. As day breaks on the first day of the New Year begins with the Buddhist merit-making ritual in the early hours of the morning and is followed by afternoon and evening merry-making and folk entertainment

People exchange their greeting cards and gifts before the upcoming January 1. Since on this auspicious occurrence, a few grand celebrations are held in the kingdom, people take this chance to travel upcountry to visit their relatives or spend holidays at a tourist attraction site, while those stay at home will prepare food and other necessary items to make merit on the early morning of January 1 and then take part in various charitable activities held in various places.

At the same time, several companies take this opportunity to give a bonus and announce promotions to their employees, who later cash money to buy gifts for relatives and friends before heading to their hometown for a long vacation.

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