Lunar New Year…still

It’s now more than three weeks since the Lunar New Year but some vestiges of the celebration are still visible. Here some of the traditional chrysanthemums have been repotted into a planter and are doing quite well.
These chrysanthemums are still in their original pot and still outside the door of a local shop, but they seem to be doing well also.

Trees: Former Glory

Cambodia has a strong relationship with its trees. Most of the population still cooks using charcoal in open pottery braziers. Heavy wooden stylized furniture is an affirmation of a family’s status or the viability of a company. In the colonial days beautiful tree-lined boulevards graced Phnom Penh. Today much of the urban glory provided by the trees is gone but there are still glimpses in some parts of the city.

Decorative trees in the park-like median between busy lanes of traffic.
Another urban open area with trees.
Some businesses create a welcoming environment with trees.
A remnant of a former beautiful tree-lined boulevard.

Another glimpse of what used to be but now is mostly gone.

Two weeks and counting…

Two weeks and a day ago, we celebrated the Lunar New Year. Lots and lots of chrysanthemums were sold to decorate homes and businesses. And apparently a lot of others didn’t get sold. Yesterday I passed these seemingly abandoned flower pots, wilting reminders of the celebration of the Year of the Tiger.

Breakfast to go

The lines are long for Phnom Penh-ers queuing up to buy breakfast at one of the thousands of food carts all over the city. Most homes still cook with charcoal so you can see why eating on the street is so popular. Can you imagine lighting your charcoal grill every time you wanted to eat hot food?
This other cart has customers, too, but the seated woman selling cold drinks isn’t doing much business. Maybe it’s too early.

1st Day of New Year

Today was the first day of the lunar new year, and this was a scene repeated all across Phnom Penh where traditional new year flower arrangements decorated the entranceways of businesses closed for the holiday–even though it’s NOT a holiday in Cambodia!
And across the street from the Home Access business in the first picture, the manager of a nursery ponders what to do with the unsold chrysanthemums in her establishment.

Lunar New Year

Three more days to Lunar New Year’s Eve! More and more signs of the new year are appearing throughout Phnom Penh. Chrysanthemums are one of the most popular flowers for this festival because of their gold color associated with wealth.

Here one of the staff at an office arranges some chrysanthemums and other flowers outside the office door.

Further down the street, more chr ysanthemums are set outside the door of a private house.

Lunar New Year 2022

Lunar New Year’s Eve is January 31st and Cambodia is getting ready! Cambodia is not a Chinese country but a lot of Cambodians have Chinese ancestry and very definitely celebrate the Chinese New Year even though it is not a public holiday here. Now that the new year is less than a week away, more and more decorations are going up.

Water Festival

November 18, 19, 20 were the annual Water Festival holidays. This year, though, because of Covid-19, the boat races on the Tonle Sap River were canceled so the migration of two or three million people to Phnom Penh didn’t happen.

There are always aspects of Cambodia culture that we foreigners will never understand or fully appreciate. For me one of those is the association of the flower decorations pictured in the photographs with the Water Festival. They are of a Khmer style but their meaning, the origin of the design, how they are used is a mystery to me

These specialized designs were widely available in the markets and from street vendors.

And people bought them, maybe adding a bit of holiday cheer to a major Cambodian festival that suffered in its celebration in a pandemic year.