Holiday in Cambodia – 2014

Many visitors to Cambodia are caught out by unexpected holidays.  Not many westerners expect New Year to be celebrated in…er…mid April, and the Khmer calendar is peppered with a number of traditional Buddhist holidays, days that mark the turning of seasons (wet season to dry season) as well as days of political significance.

When you plan to go to Cambodia don’t be surprised if you come across an unexpected holiday or two. Cambodians love their holidays, and Siem Reap locals enjoy three versions of New Years day:  January 1st, then Chinese New Year, then in April Khmer New Year. Western festivals are not really observed, though don’t be surprised if you see Santa motifs in December.

List of Public Holidays in Cambodia for year 2014

Public holidays in Cambodia are mostly made of traditional festivals and Buddhist holidays. Most festivals and holidays are based on lunar calendar, thus the dates of Cambodia holidays change from year to year in Gregorian calendar.

International New Year’s Day
First day of the year in Western/Gregorian Calendar
not a public holiday, yet many businesses and offices are closed.
New Year’s Day 2014

  • Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Victory over Genocide Day
Commemorates the end of Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia after their defeat to Vietnam troops in 1979.

Meak Bochea Day Commemorates Buddha’s preaching to gathering monks.

  • Friday, 14 February 2014

International Women’s Day Commemorates women’s bravery and achievement all over the world.

  • Saturday, 8 March 2014

Cambodian Khmer New Year / Chaul Chnam Thmey. Commonly referred as the most important holiday in Cambodia. The holidays may last for 3 days.

  • Monday, 14 April 2014
  • Tuesday, 15 April 2014
  • Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Labor Day / May Day. Celebrates workers’ economic and social achievement in Cambodia.

  • Thursday, 1 May 2014

Royal Plowing Ceremony. Also known as Pithi Chrat Preah Neangkol, correspond to the start of planting season.

  • Monday, 5 May 2014

HM King Sihamoni’s Birthday. Celebrates the birth of His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni. It is usually celebrated for 3 days.

  • Tuesday, 13 May 2014
  • Wednesday, 14 May 2014
  • Thursday, 15 May 2014

Visakha Bochea / Visaka Buja Day. Commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and passing to the nirvana of the Buddha.

  • Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Children’s Day. Celebrates childhood and wishes the children happiness and a good life.

  • Sunday, 1 June 2014

HM the Queen Mother’s Birthday. Celebrates the birth of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk.

  • Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Pchum Ben Day. A festival to respect the ancestors by cooking food and giving offerings to the monks.

  • Tuesday, 14 October 2014
  • Wednesday, 15 October 2014
  • Thursday, 16 October 2014

Commemoration Day of King’s Father Norodom Sihanouk. A homage to the late King’s Father Norodom Sihanouk. Public holiday since 2013. Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Paris Peace Agreement Day. Commemorates the signing of peace treaty in Paris on October 23, 1991.
Thursday, 23 October 2014

Cambodia Coronation Day. Celebrates the anniversary of the coronation of current King Norodom Sihamoni.

  • Saturday, 25 October 2014

Cambodia Independence Day. Celebrates the country’s independence from France in 1953.

  • Sunday, 9 November 2014

Water Festival / Bon Om Thook. Celebrate the end of monsoon season in Cambodia. It marks the changing course of Mekong river and Tonle sap river.

  • Thursday, 27 November 2014
  • Friday, 28 November 2014
  • Saturday, 29 November 2014

Human Rights Day. Commemorates the adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

  • Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Credit to PublicHoliday.Org for these notes. PublicHoliday.Org is a great website for anyone planning travel to foreign places and we’ve borrowed our notes for this page from them.

If you are thinking of visiting Cambodia and are wondering about volunteering – here are some useful guidelines.

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