An active day of photography spent at Wat Onalom Temple in Cambodia on the most active day of the Pchum Ben festival, some fantastic photography, more can be seen in the Pchum Ben album.
Pchum Ben is a 15-day Cambodian religious festival, culminating in celebrations on the 15th day of the tenth month in the Khmer calendar, at the end of the Buddhist lent. In 2013, the national holiday fell on 03, 04, 05 October.
The day is a time when many Cambodians pay their respects to deceased relatives of up to 7 generations. Monks chant the suttas in Pali language overnight (continuously, without sleeping) in prelude to the gates of hell opening, an event that is presumed to occur once a year, and is linked to the cosmology of King Yama originating in the Pali Canon. During the period of the gates of hell being opened, ghosts of the dead are presumed to be especially active, and thus food-offerings are made to benefit them, some of these ghosts having the opportunity to end their period of purgation, whereas others are imagined to leave hell temporarily, to then return to endure more suffering; without much explanation, relatives who are not in hell (who are in heaven or otherwise reincarnated) are also generally imagined to benefit from the ceremonies.
All images copyright: ©Ken Edgar