Pchum Ben Ceremony was held each year in September which combines the Khmer words “Pchum”, which means “to gather together”, and “Ben”, a “ball of food”. Cambodian people always have a deep respect for their parents, grandparents, and ancestors. The ceremony celebrates in the pagoda and takes 15 days. It is a time when Cambodia people always honor their ancestors up to 7 generation back. Pchum Ben ceremony started from September 06 to September 21, 2017.
In the first 14 days of Pchum Ben are called Dak Ben. During Dak Ben, people cook food and buy some drinks for the monks. It is also believed that deceased relatives will wait at the pagoda for food made by their families for 15 days.
Before going to the pagoda people always prepare lunch for their parents first, called live god. Old people always say, “Gods in your house is more powerful than the god in the pagoda. Who are the gods in your house? They are your parents.” Parents are extremely precious gods for Cambodian people because they give life, take care, educate, fund, feed, love and worry about their children. What happens when we don’t respect our parents? That would be very rude and disrespectful so other people will not respect you and don’t want to have a good relationship with you. We can say that, if we bring happiness to our parents, we have happiness in our life and our children will respect and love us in the future also. The wish from parents is very important for your life is call golden word.
It is believed that during Pchum Ben, Cambodian people should visit at least 7 pagodas and especially the places where their ancestors passed away. You need to bring food and offerings to pagoda is not later than 11:00 a.m. because the monks will not eat after 12:00 p.m. After this time, the monks do not eat and drink only soft drinks or tea until the end of the day (Monk rule).
Early in the morning, around 3:30 a.m., people prepare food, fruit and rice. They make small balls of food or cups of cooked rice (called Ben) and go to the pagoda. Then they throw the balls of food (cups of cooked rice) just outside the temple. It is believed that some of their ancestors, those who committed sins when they were alive, cannot enter the temples, even as ghosts. And they can only eat food that is prepared by their descendants. So this food is for them. People believe that if these spirits don’t see their relatives bringing food for them, they will get angry and wish their relative bad luck.
Cambodian people try not to miss a visit to the pagoda to dedicate food and offerings to the dead. The festival's final day is the actual day of Phchum Ben, when people traditionally meet together at the pagoda.