Cambodia is one of the countries where people have the strongest faith in religion in the world. This is a very special country because of its ancient architecture and unique culture. Learn more about Cambodian culture in this article
Cambodian Traditional Music
In the development of Khmer people, they have developed many musical instruments to express the wish and feeling in daily working and protecting the land activity. For many years of ups and downs, Khmer still have many typical and unique musical instruments which surprise and attract the tourists.
They are Tror Khmer, Tror Sour, Tror LE, Dikhe flock, Pey, Kham flock, Sadieu flock, etc and some instruments of ethnic groups who are living in highland.
The dancing performance is also various. There are about more than 100 kinds of performance. The special part of it is there is dancing in every song which could be in Western style. The most famous are: bangle dance, Saravan dance, Romkher Bach dance, elephant dance or community dance, etc. The special is some dance follow the Khmer art, which the typical is Apxara (symbol of Cambodian girl since 7th century up to now).
In the festival of Hindusim, they seem to be more plentiful in terms of dancing and music like the ancient flocks of “Pin Peat” with the main instruments are made of bamboo, and wood. The ancient dance tributes the creator of Hinduis, the court dance is originated from the character “Aspara” in the legend of Hindusim, etc.
There are tens of ethnic groups in Cambodia and each of them has the different type of dance, which surely give the unforgettable cultural feast for the visitors.
Cambodians have developed a unique Khmer culture
The culture as well as the way of communication of Cambodian is controlled by the faith in religions and they are much like the neighboring countries. However, there are many special things, which are needed to be avoided when being on the pagoda countries, which are:
- Do not touching the kid’s head, because Cambodian suppose that is the special part which is only touched by the parents and Gods.
- Do not giving things, money or anything else by left hand because according to their custom, left hand is the “not clean” hand.
- Do not wearing hats when coming to the pagoda, leave your shoes outside and do not stand close or touch the monks. Cambodia strictly worships the Buddhism.
- Besides, the communication and other living activities are similar to Vietnamese. Cambodia is also faithful and friendly, so there is no need to worry about the living things and communication in here.
Famous bridge in Cambodia: Kompong Kdei
Saying goodbye to the strange feeling of the world natural heritage, we move to the capital city of Phnom Penh. The first stop of our day is the bridge built from laterite since 12th century. There are symbols of snakehead in each end of the Cambodian.
This is the mysterious part because though being through many ups and downs of many centuries, it still has the original shape. People believe that this is the mysterious part and every time they have thing to wish for, they come here and everything would just be fine. I was special inspired by this ancient monument of Cambodia.
The suburban of Phnom Penh
Leaving the famous bridge, we came to the road where there are stalls of bamboo sticks sticky rice. I tried one and the famous delicious boiled egg in one stop. This rice is also strange compared with the normal rice in Vietnam. Cambodian adds glutinous rice to it, and the eggs are more fragrant for having more red part than white part.
We came to the suburban of Phnom Penh in about 1p.m and had lunch. After recharging, we came to check in hotel and take a short rest before coming to the royal palace – a must come place when being in Cambodia. This is also the place of King Norodom Sihaamoni and the place for welcoming national politicians coming to Cambodia.
Looking from the outside, we still see the features of Cambodian culture but it is sured to being influenced by the other architecture parts. That is different from other monuments in Cambodia. The palace is built from cement instead of the stone like the ancient monuments. The big and high pillar along with the ceiling brought people a bit to the Euro style.
Coming inside, we could be overwhelmed with the gold inlaid objects used to decorate in the ceiling, the patterns of Euro style but used to show the legend of Reamker, the famous legend of Cambodia. It is very lucky that, in the afternoon, it was still cool and comfortable.
Gold, Silver Pagoda
We visit Gold Pagoda, and Silver pagoda, which are also in the land of royal palace. This is such an interesting experience, and a funny evening for the new look about culture and the culture preserving of this country.
From the architectural monuments like Angkor to the housing and schooling architecture; from the traditional dance of festival to the lullabys of mother for their kids. All are deep with the taste of religion. Beside the cultural features imported from India and China, Cambodian also has special cultural features, which create a familiar and close but also strange to the visitors from Vietnam.
Faith in religion of Cambodian
Cambodia is one of the countries where people have strongest faith in religion in this world. The religions were brought into Cambodia very early. Hindusim was available in Cambodia in the beginning time of the country and it soon became the religion of Cambodia.
Until the VII century, Buddishm aso being brought to Cambodia and became the religion of more than 90% of Cambodian. Since then, Buddhism has influenced on all the aspects of living and moral lives of society to the family members. Religion is one of the inevitable parts of Cambodians and it is like food and drink.
Therefore, religions influence deeply on the intellective and aesthetic of Cambodia. This is expressed in the temple, pagoda and other monuments’ architecture. The most famous monument is Angkor complex, especially Angkor Wat with the materials of stone, soil and branches, etc which express clearly the theory of material of Hinduism and the shapes of smiling statues along with the designing of outer space in Buddism. The very combinations of two religions of India along with the traditional religion have created a familiar and strange culture, but also it is very “Cambodia”.
Everybody bustling out to join in the street festival of throwing water and coating the color powder. The actitivites are often organized in pagodas, schools, and cultural centers, etc. About five days before the festival, Cambodian starts to visit the pagoda to show their gratitude to the Buddha, and wish for the good things in the coming year.
According to the Cambodian, who come to pagoda much would have many money-talent- and prosperity in the new year. In front of the pagoda, people often build the sand mountains in the shape of colonial to symbol Meru universe. Whoever wants to find love, fortune would go around the sand mountains and place in it with the riel paper money (Cambodian money).
In the New Years Eve, every family makes beautiful lanterns and place on the lake surface. Many beautiful lanterns floating on the lake creating the festival of light lantern, and people believe that the house, which has beautiful and light lantern in the whole night would be prosperous in the coming year.
Cambodian also has custom of building Sand Mountain with the meaning of making good things. Therefore, in the festival days, people could see the small sand mounds everywhere. For the youngsters, especially the girls, the festival is a chance for them to dress nicely and dancing around according to the traditional dance. Everywhere, people could hear the music, and even the visitors join in the dance.
In some roads, that would be the figure of nine-head snake which rises about 2 or 3 meters and left the shadow to the pavements. For temples, the general feature is pointed peak, carved in four sights with pictures of life in the next life or the current life of Khmer Kingdom, or the fight with the neighbor country – Champak.
People often witness the crowdedness of annual Angkor festival with the image of Apsaras Goddess with the pliant body while dancing and the joining of monkey or horses in Ramanaya stories of India.
Besides, carving the letters or numbers is also popular in the monuments. Temple often has one main gate, the other three on three orients are fake to create the sensation of symmetrical to the temple. The most famous monument here is Bayon temple with 200 faces of Avalokitesvara.
Witnessing these monuments, we could not help admire the enormous talent of old Khmer people. Khmer architecture also influenced the architecture of Thailand and Champak of Vietnam.