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Khmer people in Kien Giang joyfully mark Chol Chnam Thmay festival

Khmer ethnic people in Kien Giang province are currently in a festive atmosphere as their traditional New Year festival called Chol Chnam Thmay is nearing.

The 2023 Chol Chnam Thmay festival will take place from April 14 to 16 (the 24th – 26th of the second lunar month).

With over 13% of its population being Khmer people (238,000), Kien Giang is home to the third largest Khmer community in the Mekong Delta, after Soc Trang and Tra Vinh provinces.

This year, all descendants in the family of Danh Nguon in Hoa Thanh hamlet of Dinh Hoa commune, Go Quao district, will return home from faraway working places to celebrate the festival. The family is busily preparing for the event, especially making “banh tet”, a traditional cylindrical-shaped dish made from glutinous rice, mung bean and pork, to present as gifts to relatives and offer to ancestors.

Nguon said after a hardworking year, his family treasures the reunion on this occasion most, and the festival is also a time for reminding descendants of the fine long-standing customs.

Danh Ut, a resident in Binh Loi hamlet of Minh Hoa commune, noted Khmer people have never celebrated the traditional New Year festival as joyfully as this year.

Chol Chnam Thmay is an occasion to educate younger generations on filial piety, meet relatives and friends, exchange greetings, review achievements in a year, and encourage charitable work.

Traditionally, people visit pagodas to offer flowers and prayers to the Buddha on the first day of the New Year and then engage in festive activities, including folk singing and dancing.

This year, Chau Thanh district has organised a boat race to celebrate Chol Chnam Thmay, attracting 25 teams with 250 members and thousands of spectators. The race is also a traditional activity every New Year festival of the Khmer community.

Danh Phuc, head of the Kien Giang board for ethnic minority affairs, said that to help locals welcome a merry festival, the board has coordinated with relevant agencies and localities to organise such activities as holding gatherings with monks, retired cadres, martyrs’ families, war invalids, revolution contributors, and reputable persons in the community, and visiting and presenting gifts to the provincial Association for Solidarity of Patriotic Monks, Khmer pagodas, boarding schools for ethnic minority students, and disadvantaged families.

He went on to say that despite difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, local Khmer people have still benefited from better life quality.

Phuc highlighted improvements in education and health care, stable political security and social order and safety, as well as enhanced solidarity among ethnic groups. He attributed those attainments partly to the timely implementation of programmes, projects, and policies on ethnic minorities, along with people’s consensus and adherence to the Party’s guidelines and the State’s laws.

As a result, many households have succeeded in developing production and business, helping to alleviate poverty in the Khmer community. Under the multidimensional approach, the household poverty rate among local ethnic minority groups has been brought down to 3.68% and the rate of near-poor households down to nearly 6%, according to the official./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency