Prime Minister calls for better traffic flow during Pchum Ben festival

As the 15-day Pchum Ben celebration is underway, Prime Minister Hun Sen called on authorities at all levels to focus on public safety and order as well as improve traffic flow to facilitate the movement of people. people during the festival.

Hun Sen said that Pchum Ben this year is a good opportunity for people to reunite with families and build merit to dedicate to their ancestors, without any strict Covid-19 restrictions imposed as was the case at most. strong from the pandemic.

“September 11 is the first day of the observance of Pchum Ben, which has been a tradition here since ancient times. This is a time when Buddhist followers have the opportunity to build and accumulate merit and gather their loved ones in pagodas near and far,” he said in a 9/11 social media post.

During the 15 days following the harvest moon, Cambodian Buddhists observe Pchum Ben – which falls from September 11 to 26 this year – the first 14 days of which are listed as the first to 14 Kan Ben days, where families usually gather in the pagodas. , bringing food and other offerings to the monks.

The main festivities will be celebrated from September 24 to 26, beginning on the 14th day of Kan Ben and ending one day after the first day of “great offering”, or Ben Thom, on September 25, which coincides with the new moon. The feast is dedicated to the blessing of the spirits of the dead and is an opportunity for families to come together.

Separately, the Ministry of Health has advised the public to take all necessary measures to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 and incidents of food poisoning, which sometimes occur on a larger scale than usual at the the holidays are approaching due to all the gatherings and large amounts of food. given in the pagodas.

Its notice of September 10 indicates that hygiene is an important factor in avoiding food poisoning.

“Food should be kept at a safe temperature [less than 5 degrees Celsius or above 60]. Cook one meal at a time with clean water and fresh ingredients. Chemicals should not be added to food,” he said.

The ministry has advised authorities across the country to assign staff to ensure food safety measures are enforced, especially in large gathering places such as pagodas.

Siem Reap Provincial Police Chief Teng Channath said on September 11 that during this year’s festival, officers were ready to carry out their duties diligently.

He added that authorities in the province have put in place plans to improve traffic flows and facilitate the movement of people and tourists.

“Some traffic jams are unavoidable, but we need to improve traffic flow so people can get to where they are going without it taking forever,” he continued.

He also said that the police forces have been deployed to each pagoda according to the plan and in cooperation with the village security guards, who will also help maintain public order and improve traffic flow, as well as ask the people to maintain their personal hygiene and take precautions to prevent food. poisoning.

Nov Sombo, a Buddhist cleric at Ang Sdok Pagoda in Angkor Chey district, Kampot province, said thermometers and alcohol hand sanitizer were prepared at exits and entrances by measure precautionary.

“Through a loudspeaker, we will also tell them where to place the food they offer to the monks and keep everything in order,” he added.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath said that Cambodians generally spend money to build merit based on their own budget and are most prepared in advance for the holidays.

“It’s a combination of factors because it’s culture and traditions since ancient times. Whether we have money or not, we go to a pagoda to make offerings. After the reopening of socio-economic activities last year, some people are earning quite a good income again, and if they have saved money all year, the offerings will not present a problem that disturbs their construction of merit. “, did he declare.

Pov Nheb, a Phnom Penh resident, said contributions to the ritual celebration are not limited by an individual’s wealth, and a person can contribute as little as 1,000 riels ($0.25 ) building the pagoda and temple if that’s all she can afford.

“There is a saying, ‘Do bad gets bad, do good gets good’. If we don’t do the right thing and don’t contribute, we lose our traditions and we we no longer know what is good and what is bad. Although the pagodas are full of food from Buddhist devotees, wastage is not a problem as the monks still share food with the needy,” she said. .

Seng Somony, spokesperson for the Ministry of Cults and Religion, said on the first day of Kan Ben this year, a large number of Buddhists visited pagodas across the Kingdom, thanks to the Kingdom’s successful fight against the Covid-19.

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