Friday, November 19, 2010

Bon Om Tuk / Water Festival

This is the busiest festival in the calendar for Cambodia, and starts again tomorrow. The other main festivals generally involve dispersal of city and town dwellers to their ancestral villages, so although the celebrations may be larger, they aren’t so obvious because they are spread out. This is more about rural people coming to town, and huge numbers get concentrated around some spots, making it difficult at times to get around. The festival is usually very friendly and pleasant, although the aimless nature to some of it creates a strange atmosphere at times.

The first couple of pictures are from sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century, the following two black & white images with the steamer on the river are from 1930 and 1932. The following four color photos of the racing boat, crowds and strange looking naval craft are from 1955. The next color picture of the boat race is from 1960, I'm not sure where it was taken, but it doesn't look like Phnom Penh. The second last picture with the UNTAC ship by the quay is by Serge Corrieras and was taken in 1991. The last picture shows some crowds on the quay in 2006.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi! We are interested to publish some of these photos about the water festival. I would like to ask if you own the rights to the vintage photos?

Please send me an email to