Pchum Ben Festival
Pchum Ben is a 15-day religious festival, culminating in celebrations on the 15th day of the tenth month in the Khmer calendar, at the end of the Buddhist lent; Vassa.
This is the time when Cambodians commemorate and pay respect to deceased relatives of up to 7 generations. Monks chant the suttas throughout the night without sleeping in prelude to the gates of hell opening, an event that is presumed to occur once a year, and is linked to the cosmology of King Yama
in the Pali Canon.
During this period, the gates of hell are believed to be opened and manes of the ancestors are presumed to be especially active.
In temples around the country, adhering to canonical protocol, Cambodians offer food to Buddhist monks, to generate ‘merits’ to indirectly benefit their deceased relatives. It is customary for people to make offerings of food at several different temples during Pchum Ben.
Below are posters showing different temple setting. These serve only as examples and not meant to dictate any fixed order. It is up to the people’s choice which temple to go to during this period to make their offerings.