New Delhi: Phchum Ben is the most important festival in the Khmer religious calendar. Cambodians have faithfully observed the festival every year from long time back in the history.
It is a 15 day festival, culminating in celebrations on the 15th day of the tenth month in the Khmer calendar, at the end of the Buddhist lent, Vassa.
The word ‘Ben' in Khmer means to collect; ‘Ben' also means to cup or mould cooked rice into portions. To ‘Ben Baht' means to collect food to give to monks. The word ‘Phchum' means to congregate or to meet together. Regardless how busy they may be during the fifteen days of Phchum Ben.
Cambodian people try not to miss a visit to the pagoda to dedicate food and offerings to the dead.
As per belief Cambodians pay their respects to deceased relatives of up to 7 generations.
The festival is linked to the cosmology of King Yama originating in the Pali Canon.
During this period, the gates of hell are opened, ghosts of the dead are presumed to be especially active, and thus food-offerings are made to benefit them, some of these ghosts having the opportunity to end their period of purgation, whereas others are imagined to leave hell temporarily, to then return to endure more suffering; without much explanation, relatives who are not in hell are also generally imagined to benefit from the ceremonies.
Here are the pics of the festival: