Bon Om Touk

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Bon Om Touk
Also calledWater Festival
Observed byCambodians
2017 date3–4 November
2018 date22–24 November
Related toLoi Krathong (in Thailand and Laos), Il Poya (in Sri Lanka) Tazaungdaing festival (in Myanmar)

Bon Om Touk (Khmer: បុណ្យអុំទូក, IPA: [bon om tuːk]), or the Cambodian Water Festival, is a Cambodian festival celebrated in November and marks a reversal of the flow of the Tonle Sap River. Every town and province joins in with the festival but the biggest celebrations take place in Phnom Penh with boat racing along the Sisowath Quay. For three days, workers from every province join with the city's residents to celebrate by night and day. The festival lasts for three days, and commemorates the end of the country's rainy season,[2] as well as the reversal of flow of the Tonle Sap River.[3] It includes boat races and concerts, and attracts several million people each year.[2][4]

Ak Ambok[edit]

Ak Ambok (Khmer: អកអំបុក, IPA: [ʔɑk ɑmboːk]) is named after the rice dish which forms part of the Bon Om Tuk ceremony. Rice is fried in the husk and then pounded with a giant pestle. The husks are removed and the special rice is mixed with coconut and banana. This traditional Khmer dish is sold throughout the festival.

Sampeah Preah Khae[edit]

Sampeah Preah Khae (Khmer: សំពះព្រះខែ, IPA: [sɑmpeəʰ preəʰ kʰaːe]) is a ceremony in which salutations are made to the moon. After the Sampeah Preah Khae ceremony people gather at a pagoda at midnight for Ak Ambok.

Bandaet Pratip[edit]

Bandaet Pratip (Khmer: បណ្ដែតប្រទីប, IPA: [ɓɑndaːet prɑtiːp]) begins around 7 pm with illuminated boats taking to the water. Each boat represents a government ministry or state institution.


The festival was the site of a major stampede at the 2010 event,[2] as well as having five rowers drown in 2008 and a single rower drown in 2009 during the boat races.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c "At Least 345 Die in Cambodian Stampede". Time Magazine. 22 November 2010. Archived from the original on 25 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  3. ^ "Cambodia's Water Festival". Al Jazeera. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  4. ^ "Hundreds Die in Stampede on Cambodian Island". The New York Times. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  5. ^ "Cambodia Water Festival turns tragic with deadly stampede". Christian Science Monitor. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010.