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Chaul Chnam Thmey
A Cambodian event not to be missed is the Chaul Chnam Thmey (Khmer New Year), a three day festival held in April each year featuring colourful processions, music, dancing... and a lot of water and talcum powder bombs! People douse each other with water as a blessing, with coloured water signifying the wish for a colourful future. The local Khmer people make offerings and exchange gifts. Traditionally, houses are cleaned and decorated with flowers, streamers and balloons and an altar is set up to welcome the spirit of new year. People wear new clothes for the celebrations and children give gifts of money, fruit, or other foods to their elders as a sign of respect. Many children also wash the feet of their parents or other elders to show their devotion and respect. Cambodians have many traditional games and these are played enthusiastically over the Cambodian New Year on street corners and in homes. Chaul Chnam Thmey marks the beginning of the new year but also the end of the busy harvesting season, when farmers give thanks and celebrate the fruits of their labour. It is a fun and exhilirating time to visit the country, particularly the Angkor Wat Temple complex, where celebrations reach their peak.
Angkor Wat International Half Marathon
The Angkor International Half Marathon now attracts over 5,000 runners from 47 different countries annually. First held in 1996 this 21km race through, in, and around the magnificent Angkor temples is becoming increasingly popular. The setting alone makes this event an iconic addition to the international race calendar, with the evocative temples a constant backdrop to the athlete's efforts. The race starts before dawn in order to avoid the stifling heat and humidity of the day. All funds raised are devoted to victims of landmine explosions, and a number of other pressing issues in Cambodia including the treatment of HIV Aids. There is also an Angkor bike race which has three categories: the 100km race, the 30km race and a fun family race event. The bike race is usually held the day before the marathon. Participants can also choose to attend a number of related celebrations and events including a Gala Dinner Party at the Prasat Bei Temple which includes a traditional dance show. As one can imagine, the Angkor International Half Marathon is a wonderful sports event for spectators.