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Kingdom set for Visak Bochea Day

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Buddhists offer alms to a monk during Visak Bochea Day at Wat Sansam Kosal in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district in 2020. Hong Menea

Kingdom set for Visak Bochea Day

The National Committee for Organising National and International Festivals has advised all ministries, institutions and administrations of the capital and provinces to send leaders, civil servants and people to join in marking Visak Bochea Day, which falls on May 15, to commemorate the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death.

The committee also instructed them to fly national and religious flags and banners with slogans at their institutions and in prominent public places.

An April 26 letter issued by Minister of Royal Palace Kong Sam Ol – who is also chairman of the committee – advised them to observe Visak Bochea in accordance with the wishes of King Norodom Sihamoni.

The letter read that the committee – in collaboration with several ministries and institutions – will observe the traditional holiday at the compound of Phnom Preah Reach Troap, better known as Phnom Oudong, in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district.

It instructed the Kandal Provincial Administration to cooperate to mark the occasion and invite monks, civil servants, students and members of the public to join them. It noted that health measures would be in effect, with all participants being temperature checked and with the widespread use of hand sanitiser. It asked the administration to deploy security forces to maintain public safety and manage traffic before, during and after the celebrations.

“We advise people who own houses along the roads to Phnom Preah Reach Troap to prepare flower decorations, install lights and fly the national and Buddhist flags. Signs celebrating the birth, enlightenment and Nirvana of the Buddha should be erected,” the letter said.

Siem Reap provincial deputy governor Ly Samrith said on April 26 he was glad that Visak Bochea celebrations had resumed after a short hiatus due to Covid-19. This year’s event will see banners with slogans relating to Buddhism erected, as advised by the committee. The Visak Bochea festival commemorates the Buddha – who helped society on the path of peace.

“Every year, we observe this festival at Reach Bo Pagoda, but this year we are not sure whether it will be held there or at another pagoda. Maybe it will be observed at the Preah Enkaosa pagoda called Wat Leu in Slakram commune,” he said.

Phos Sovann, head of the Ministry of Information’s General Department of Information and Broadcasting, said the ministry had advised media outlets to broadcast Visak Bochea, as with all national events, including Meak Bochea and the King’s birthday. The National Television of Cambodia (TVK) and national radio stations had always broadcast Visak Bochea celebrations.

“TVK and national radio stations traditionally conduct many activities. They choose topics and invite speakers from the Ministry of Cults and Religions or monks to present Visak Bochea,” he said.

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