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.
International Women’s Day Commemorates women’s bravery and achievement all over the world.
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.
Royal Plowing Ceremony. Also known as Pithi Chrat Preah Neangkol, correspond to the start of planting season.
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.
Children’s Day. Celebrates childhood and wishes the children happiness and a good life.
HM the Queen Mother’s Birthday. Celebrates the birth of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk.
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.
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.
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