Customs and traditions
Daily life and Khmer culture and identity are
closely linked to Buddhism. The collective is considered
to be ahead of the individual and it is important not to
lose face. Doing so easily shames the group (for
example, the family), not just oneself.
Hostility to Vietnam in particular is also a unifying
factor that is often invoked, not least by politicians.
Traditionally, Cambodians greet each other by
bringing their palms together, fingers up, in front of
the chest and bow lightly, and say chum reap suor.
Among women, it is still the most common way of health,
while men nowadays often shake hands with one another,
in a Western way.
Overview of the capital city of Cambodia, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
The traditional greeting - sampeah - stands
at least one arm's length away. How to say goodbye
depends largely on social status. Those who rank below
are expected to bow first. The higher you hold your
hands and the deeper you bow, the greater reverence you
show the one you greet. Two socially equal people greet
their fingertips at about the level of their mouths. The
greeting is not necessarily performed every time you
meet a friend or workmate. However, it is common for it
to be repeated when separated.
The hierarchies are important. Respect is shown
especially for monks and leading people in society.
Younger shows respect for the elderly, students respect
for teachers, children for parents, employees for
managers, and so on. The child prefers to avoid eye
contact with the child.
If you pass in front of someone you do not
immediately greet, it is advisable to just bow lightly,
from the waist.
At an initial meeting, it may be advisable to avoid
using names. Instead, the titles locomotive for
a man and locomotive srey for a woman are used
as a way of showing reverence. The terms are inserted
before the address name.
Cambodians prefer to avoid confrontation and can thus
appear rather unclear. To a question, they can answer
what they think is a desired answer, rather than one
that matches reality. Sometimes it is good to ask
several times, and to try to read the situation in other
ways than through direct questions.
It is considered appropriate to speak muffled and
serious without too much gesturing. The Cambodians like
to avoid showing anger but smile the better. Expressions
of humor are common and people laugh and joke. But a
smile - or even a chuckle - is common even if you
present something negative.
A gesture in which the hand is rotated in front of
the body, in something similar to a waving, means "no"
or is otherwise dismissive.
To wave someone to one's hand, hold the palm down and
"force" with the fingers in the air - holding the hand
upwards which we in the West would gladly do is
Unsuitable with physical contact
There is a strong taboo against contact between the
sexes, whether it is a friend or a partner. However,
physical contact between two people of the same sex is
accepted, including men in between.
Touching someone's head is perceived as an insult.
The head is the most important part of the body, where
the soul is believed to be. The feet are considered
dirty and you should avoid pointing them at anyone or
stepping over someone else's legs.
Visitors to temples, and private homes, are expected
to take off their shoes. In temples one should wear long
pants or a skirt that is reasonably long, as well as a
garment on the upper body that covers the shoulders.
When it comes to conversation topics, a foreigner
should avoid asking about the Red Khmer.
Rice and fish are staple foods. At home, the food is
served on the carpet on the floor or you sit on a raised
bamboo platform. You eat in order according to social
status: adult men and guests first, those who cooked the
food last. Breakfast usually consists of rice porridge
or rice noodles. Yeast fish paste, prawn hook,
is an important flavoring.
Fish amok is often called national dish and
consists of curry-spiced fish in coconut milk, steamed
in banana leaves. Bai sach chrouk is a common
dish of rice and thinly sliced grilled pork chunks.
Teuk tnaot is liquid from sugar palm and
drink more or less yeast - but usually not with meals.
Rice wine flavored with herbs, for example, is also
Holidays and Holidays
Perhaps the most important celebration is the Khmer
Chol Chnam Thmey New Year. The New Year is
celebrated for three days in April when the harvest
season ends and the rainy season is at the door. The
Cambodians gather with the family, light candles and
incense, visit temples, undergo purification rites,
engage in charity and have fun with competitions. Also
important is the Bon Om Touk Water Festival for
three days in November, which is held when the rainy
season is nearing its end and the water flow in Tonlé
Sap changes direction (see Geography and climate).
During the festival, you enjoy boat races, concerts and
other outdoor activities.
The royal plowing ceremony is an old holiday that
falls on different dates in May as the rice growing
Many holidays have Buddhist origins and follow the
lunar calendar. At the meak bochea that falls
in late February or early March, one repents his sins
and remembers the Buddha and his teachings. Visak
bochea in May is a commemoration of Buddha's birth,
enlightenment and death. Pchum bones in
September – October are also called Ancestors' Day, but
celebrations last for several days at the end of the
Lent. You honor your ancestors, among other things, by
cooking for the monks.
The "victory over the genocide regime" is celebrated
on January 7, the day 1979 when the Vietnamese invaded
to expel the Red Khmer. On September 9, the Constitution
Day is celebrated in commemoration of the constitution
adopted in 1993. On October 23, the Paris Treaty is
signed by the Peace Agreement with Vietnam in 1991, and
on November 9, the independence of France in 1953 is
Several celebrations are being celebrated: King
Sihamoni's birthday on May 14 is celebrated on day
three, King Norodom Monineath's birthday is celebrated
on June 18, and the king's father, the former King
Sihanouk, is remembered on his death on October 15.
Sihamoni's coronation is celebrated on October 29.
Several other secular and international holidays are
also available, such as New Year's Day and May 1, as
well as International Women's Day on March 8,
International Children's Day on June 1 and Human Rights
Day on December 10.