Thursday, October 2, 2008
One for the family album: LtoR: Veasna (brother-in-law), Phanno (nephew), Sopheap (sister), Phanna (niece), Pheany (aunt), Kimsan (mum), Sophoin, Hun (uncle)One of the reasons I went to Kompong Cham was to join in the final days of the important 15-day P'chum Ben ceremony with my good friend Sophoin and her family. Sophoin lives and works in Phnom Penh but her family all live in Kompong Cham city and like many of her fellow countrymen, she travelled back to her homeland to join her family for this special occasion, to honour the dead, especially her father who died earlier this year and was cremated at the pagoda. However, it's not a solemn occasion as there was much merriment at the pagoda when we visited, though due respect was shown to the monks and laymen during the ceremonial parts of the morning's activities. Offerings of food, drink, clothing and money were made to the monks, to the spirits of the deceased and to say the pagoda, Wat Dei Doh, was heaving with hordes of people, is an understatement. It's a great opportunity for friends and relatives to meet up and exchange news, gossip, cement the family bond and everything else, and to do what all Cambodians love to do, pose for photographs. Sophoin and the female members of her family had been up since the early hours cooking food for the ceremony and for lunch, which is where we went after visiting the pagoda, to enjoy a gorgeous meal of chicken curry, cooked especially for me.
These incense sticks caught alight just as this man approached the holder - he must've had singed eyebrows!