|Cambodians perform Trot dance in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, April 12, 2013. Cambodia is preparing to celebrate its traditional New Year -- the Year of the Snake, which will fall on April 14-16. (Xinhua/Sovannara)
PHNOM PENH, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia is preparing to celebrate its traditional New Year -- the Year of the Snake, which will fall on April 14-16.
People have begun to leave the country's capital, Phnom Penh, for their hometowns in various provinces in order to enjoy the holiday period with their relatives.
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday blessed his compatriots with best wishes on the occasion.
"May the Year of the Snake bring all Cambodian people with four Buddha's blessing: longevity, nobility, happiness, and strength," the premier said during a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a new stadium on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
He also urged all vehicle drivers to drive carefully in order to avoid traffic accidents on the occasion.
"It is a joyful holiday. It is the time to enjoy with your families, so please drive carefully for your own safety and others ' safety," he said.
Meanwhile, the Phnom Penh Municipality issued a directive, ordering authorities to strengthen security and public order for the people during the holiday.
It also appealed to bus companies and taxi drivers not to raise fees during the holiday period when millions of Cambodians travel to visit their relatives in their hometowns in the provinces.
"Some bus companies take this opportunity to increase the fees, which cause difficulty for travelers," the directive said, adding that the high prices for transport fees during the occasion encourages people to pack into minibuses so overloaded that people sometimes travel on the roof, which is a major safety concern and can lead to road accidents.
The occasion is the largest holiday in the country. Traditionally, days ahead of the New Year, Trot dance, a Khmer traditional dance, is invited to perform at houses, shops, ministries or institutions as a symbol to drive away all bad luck from the past year and to greet the New Year.
On the three days of the New Year celebration, people prepare food, fruits and soft drinks on altars and light candles and incense sticks in order to greet the New Year's angel.
Besides, they bring food, cash gift, and praying stuff to offer to Buddhist monks in pagodas in order to dedicate to their ancestors and wish for longevity, good luck, happiness and prosperity in the New Year.
New Year celebration is also the time for young girls and boys to gather and play a variety of traditional games, dancing and singing in vicinities of pagodas and tourism sites throughout the country.