Khmer people enjoy Chol Chnam Thmay Tet Festival

Visiting the Mekong River Delta provinces during these days, tourists can see the excitement and joy on the faces of the Khmer people as they clean, renew and decorate their houses to welcome the traditional Chol Chnam Thmay Tet Festival.

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A ritual during the Chol Chnam Thmay Festival of Khmer people in Soc Trang province.

The joy for bumper season

There are around 1.2 million Khmer people living in the nearly 10 Mekong River Delta provinces and cities. 

Soc Trang has the most people with over 400,000, accounting for nearly 31% of the population, distributed equally in all districts, towns and cities.

These days, all the roads from the city to the countryside are vibrant with colourful flowers and flags.

Thach Thi Dung from Tra Quyt B hamlet, Thuan Hoa commune said: “This year, my family enjoyed a more prosperous Tet holiday thanks to better farming. 

Previously, my family was poor without fields. However, after receiving loans from the State to raise cows and then being trained in breeding techniques by the local agricultural officials, we escaped from poverty”. 

Since her family’s economy has improved, Dung has actively participated in the activities of the local Women’s Union, appointed as a coordinator of the policy credit fund and became an exemplary Party member.

In Vinh Chau town, Soc Trang province, where Khmer people account for over 52% of the local population, the ethnic people’s lives have changed rapidly. 

The transportation system in the locality is essentially complete, while a medical station, schools, electricity and clean water have been provided to serve locals. At present, the shrimp farming areas in Vinh Chau are preparing for the main crop of this year. 

Kim Sa Rich from Pray Chop hamlet, Lai Hoa commune, excitedly said: “Thanks to the State’s investment in infrastructure, water resources have been ensured for shrimp farming areas. Moreover, I can borrow capital and trained in farming techniques, so I applied multi-cultivation model for more than 10,000 square metres of land, gaining annual profit of over VND200 million. This year’s Chol Chnam Thmay is more prosperous than previous years.”

In Tra Vinh province, the Khmer ethnic community accounts for 32% of the population. Nhue Tu B hamlet in Ham Giang commune was one of the poorest areas in Tra Cu district in the past. 

However, thanks to the Party’s leadership and State’s investment, Khmer people in the locality have developed a more efficient agricultural economy. The arid fields are now covered with the green colour of taro and pumpkins.

Villager Chau Sa Da Mol from Vinh Trung commune, Tinh Bien district, An Giang province, shared that, this year, Khmer people enjoyed a happier Chol Chnam Thmay thanks to the recent bumper rice crop. 

“Chol Chnam Thmay Festival is an opportunity for family members and relatives to gather and pay tribute to their ancestors”.

Development of homeland

All roads, particularly areas near Khmer pagodas, were decorated prominently by flowers and flags to celebrate the Chol Chnam Thmay Tet Festival.

Localities like Dai An commune (Tra Cu district, Tra Vinh province), where Khmer people are the majority of the population, have seen positive changes in their images and locals’ living standard.

In 2018, Soc Trang province effectively utilised the resources of investment for the development of the ethnic minority community. 

As a result, the ethnic people’s lives have seen significant improvement, contributing to rapidly reducing the number of poor households. 

Head of the provincial Ethnic Department Ly Binh Cang said that 11,440 households escaped from poverty last year.

The campaign “All People Unite to Build New-Style Rural Areas and Civilised Urban Areas” has brought about new appearances for many localities, particularly regions with Khmer people. 

Venerable Ly Duc, deputy head of Soc Trang province’s Association of united patriotic monks and nuns, said that the province has 130 worshiping facilities, including 92 pagodas and 38 salatels. 

So far, over 85% of pagodas have been renovated. There are 65 cultural spots at Khmer pagodas, including two recognised as a national cultural and historical relic sites. 

Traditional religious activities and cultural festivals have been maintained, contributing to preserving the national cultural identities and improving the spiritual lives of monks and Khmer Buddhists in the province.

According to Secretary of Soc Trang provincial Party Committee, Phan Van Sau, the socio-economic situation of the Khmer ethnic minority community has reached significant growth. 

The national cultural identities have been preserved and promoted, while the political system has been increasingly consolidated and developed and the great unity block of ethnic groups has been promoted. 

Khmer people’s material and spiritual lives have been constantly improved and their intellectual level has been raised. The essential facilities for ethnic minority groups and disadvantaged communes have received investment. 

He also noted: “The achieved results show the efforts made by the entire Party committee, government and people in the province, including Khmer people, in actively grasping opportunities and effectively exploiting the localities’ potential and strength to develop the set political, economic and social goals”.

Nhan Dan

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