Friday, November 11, 2011

Water festival?

The river changes direction, flowing the opposite way at this time of year in Cambodia. Phnom Penh gets really crowded as people come from all over the country to race boats and celebrate Water Festival/ Bon Om Touk. We usually do a huge food shop before hand and stay home away from the crowds, the last few years we've been flooded in anyway.

National boat races happen every year in Phnom Penh at this time of year.
Last year a few hundred people died in a stampede during this crowded festival. Someone we knew was caught up in it, they got out alive, but with a really horrible story. Here is the link to what I was blogging at the time, as the news unfolded.

Our street in Phnom Penh this time in 2008, instead of motorbikes, floating things became preferred method of transport. Fishing was also popular. 
Giving Soeun a lift to work during "floody season".
The Phnom Penh Post had this article yesterday:

"The annual Water Festival is reviving memories of the hundreds of people killed last year in the stampede on the bridge to Diamond Island. Many survivors say they cannot block the images of tragedy from flashing in their minds and creeping into their dreams... click to see all

I'm not sure what festival is like this year, normally its a big celebration, not sure if that will still be the case? Also we heard that it might have been going to be cancelled due to the bad flooding this year. Hard to imagine?
oh stop press, just found this article which says its still on but not as big as normal

1 comment:

Katherine said...

This was the first year I stayed in Phnom Penh for the festival. I didn't see any boat races (they were canceled). The crowds down at the water front were manageable and the fire works were nice. Saw the king drive by in a motorcade. It felt much more low key than I had been led to belief, but maybe it was this year.