Chinese new year celebrations , also known as Spring Festival, starts on the evening preceding the new moon of the first lunar month & runs until the full moon, coinciding with Tet, the Vietnamese new year.
In Cambodia, this festival is not a public holiday, although a large proportion of Khmers will participate in the celebrations, many having Chinese ancestors. Officially it’s business as usual, however visitors may notice many places closed. Those with ancestors from China will often return to their homeland and celebrate with their families.
For the photographer, you will witness increased activity in the Chinese pagodas, especially on the eve of the first day. A notable place to be is Wat Phnom in the capital where crowds gather to see in the new year. A rich array of culture, incense sticks, candles, releasing birds for good luck & burning fake money for their ancestors can be witnessed.
Throughout the country there will be numerous dragon dance performances, the dragon being the symbol of China. The wealthy will hire a team of performers to bring good luck to their house. There are a few places in Phnom Penh with quite large performances, just keep your ears & eyes open. This also happens In the countryside but on a smaller scale, as the money is in the capital. Along with fire crackers, it’s great if you come upon this armed with your camera.
Other things to note. Increased visitors it the Angkor Wat complex, but unlike Songkran (Khmer new year), it does not affect our photography workshops. Also, many Chinese & Khmer will head to the coast in great numbers, which will inflate accommodation prices over the festive period.
Chinese new year 2017, the year of the rooster starts on January 28th.
Chinese new year 2018, the year of the dog, February 15-17