Some countries seem to have an awful lot of national holidays, and thankfully Cambodia is one of those countries.
Merely a week ago, the country celebrated Water Festival connected to the coronation day, which gave the citizens a five day holiday and now but a mere week later, we have November 9th or Cambodian Independence Day.
What is Cambodian Independence Day?
In 1863 France took over Cambodia as part of its French-Indochina colony and would remain in power for 80 plus years. Following the end of World War 2, Indochina, principally led by Vietnam, would fight their French colonial overlords for independence, the precursor for what would be perpetual warfare to some degree until 1998.
On November 9th, 1953, France agreed to Cambodia’s independence with King Sihanouk as head of state, which kind of makes a father of the nation type figure.
How Do You Celebrate Cambodian Independence Day?
As it is not a religious holiday, there are no real traditions to what you should do on November 9th. For most people, it’s merely a day off, or at least for this year a long weekend. It seemed to mostly mean that more people than usual were getting drunk by the river from a visual point.
Official Celebrations in Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is where the independence monument (វិមានឯករាជ្យ) and it is a tradition for the government and monarch to assemble here every November 9th for a bit of s speech and so forth, with the roads around the monument being closed.
Alas, 2020, is no ordinary year, and with the current lockdown due to coronavirus fears, it is likely to be a much more low key affair this year.
In the evening, there is a firework display planned in front of the Chatomuk River (ទន្លេចតុមុខ) by the Royal Palace. Hopefully, this will still go ahead!