All 2022 dates of official public holidays, religious ceremonies and other festivals in Cambodia.
|January 1||New Year’s Day||Although an official holiday, until a few years ago not widely celebrated in Cambodia. Now, not only expats and tourists attend the fireworks at the riverside to welcome the new year, but thousands of Khmers as well.|
|January 7||Victory over Genocide Day||Mixed feelings on this day as it marks the Vietnamese invasion, which ended the Khmer Rouge regime. But a lot of Cambodians feel the Vietnamese later occupied their country.|
|February 1||Chinese New Year||This is the New Year of both the Chinese and Vietnamese lunar calendar. NOT an official holiday, yet, but it probably soon will be with the Chinese invasion of the country. Anyway, even before that it was already widely celebrated in Cambodia. Almost all shops are closed for several days.|
|March 8||International Women’s Day||Celebrated with marches, gatherings and cultural events|
|April 14-16||Khmer New Year||The end of the harvest marks the turn of the year according to the Buddhist lunar calendar. Every home is decorated, shrines are filled with food and traditional games performed. Best place to watch or take part: around Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh.|
|May 1||Labour Day||Better Factories|
|May 14||King Sihamoni’s birthday||This one was 3 days, but in 2020 reduced to just 1 day. No festivities, only evening fireworks on the river front in Phnom Penh.|
|May 15||Visakha Bochea||Birth of Buddha|
|May 19||Bonn Chrott Preah Nongkoal||Royal Ploughing Ceremony. This is celebrated to alert the nation of the commencement of the rainy season and to ready farmers for the ploughing period. Cows are given a variety of crops to eat. Based on the choices of crops eaten, predictions are made for the coming year’s harvest.|
|June 18||King’s Mother Birthday||No festivities, except evening fireworks on the riverside.|
|September 24||Constitution Day||Constitution of Cambodia|
|September 24-26||Bonn Pchum Ben||A colourful religious festival blessing the souls of ancestors, relatives and friends alike who have passed away. Household members attend Buddhist temples. Colourful offerings in the pagodas.|
|October 15||Commemoration Day||Memorial Day as a homage to the late King’s Father Norodom Sihanouk who died on this date in 2012.|
|October 29||Coronation Day||To commemorate the coronation of King Sihamoni in 2004. No festivities, only evening fireworks on the riverfront in Phnom Penh.|
|November 7-9||Water Festival||Marks the reversing flow of Tonle Sap River and also ushers in the fishing season. The highlight of the event, are the boat races that are held over three days. When night falls, fireworks light the sky and a lighted flotilla of boats sail aloft for good luck. People from all walks of life gather on the bank of the Tonle Sap for several days and nights. The population of Phnom Penh doubles during this festival. Colourful, very busy.|
|November 9||Independence Day (1953)||Celebrated with a ceremony early morning at the Independence Monument, usually with the King attending. Fireworks at night on the river front. See also an essay on Cambodia’s Indepence Day by Kenneth T. So.|
This year two holidays (Constitution Day and Independence Day) overlap with 3-day holidays (Pchum Ben and Water Festival respectively).
If you’re missing a few that used to be on the calendar, in 2020 Cambodia reduced its holidays to ‘only’ 21 days. There are 22 in the list above, but Chinese New Year doesn’t count as it’s not an official holiday. Cambodia used to top the list of countries with the most public holidays. It’s now second, together with India and Kazakhstan.
Five holidays were completely removed:
- International Human Rights Day
- International Children’s Day
- The Paris Peace Agreements Day
- Meak Bochea Day
- The National Day of Remembrance ( a controversial holiday, added in 2018)
One holiday was reduced from 3 days to 1:
- King Norodom Sihamoni’s birthday
The Roll-Over Sunday Public Holidays are a thing of the past as well. To further reduce the number of days off, the government in September 2021 decided to scrap the rule that if a holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following it is a day off.