When speaking about religion in Cambodia you can easily find Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Animism. Among this Buddhism is considered to be the major religion in Cambodia since almost 95% of people in Cambodia are following Buddhism, especially Theravada Buddhist being the most of them. But the first religion to be followed in Cambodia is Hinduism which was followed by the people of the Funan Empire, considered to be the first empire in Cambodian history. Let us have a brief look at their religions and their impact on Cambodian culture.
Buddhism in Cambodia:
It is believed that Buddhism has been followed by the people of Cambodia since 5th century C.E. There are some sources that reveal that Theravada Buddhism prevails in Cambodia even in the 3rd century B.C.E. Buddhism became the main and the Cambodian state religion right from 13th century C.E. excluding the period of Khmer Rouge.
Hinduism in Cambodia:
Being the very oldest and the first religion to be followed in Cambodia, Hinduism was made the main religion of the Khmer Empire. There are only two temples of Brahma available in world and Cambodia is very proud to have one of them in their country. Angkor Wat Hindu temple is the biggest Hindu temple in the world and it is located in Cambodia.
Islam and Christianity:
Majority of people of the Cham follow the religion of Islam in Cambodia and it is otherwise called as Khmer Islam and also the minorities of Malay follow Islam. The strength of Christians in Cambodia is around 20,000 during 1972. Christianity in Cambodia started from 1660 by the Roman Catholics.
Local tribal religions:
Apart from these major religions there are some local tribal religions available in Cambodia. They entirely constitute about 100,000 persons and they are generally known as the animists.
Wedding in any country has a lot of special ceremonies and other events, which will be very interesting for both the couples and others viewing it. Cambodian wedding is very traditional and special in all aspect and for one wedding a lot of procedures or ceremonies with songs take place. Here in this article I will brief about a Khmer wedding ceremony with all the wedding events that took place. The following ceremony will give you an outlined view of all Cambodian Khmer weddings. The actual wedding ceremony of Cambodians will take place continuously for three days and three nights. This is because of the reason that the Cambodians made three as their auspicious number as the number three is associated with the “Three Jewels” of Buddhism. Since there are a lot of factors to be considered at present like time, money, etc. Cambodian weddings are completed in one single day instead of three.
Events in Cambodian wedding:
1. Dowry presentation event: The first event of Cambodian wedding starts with the presentation of dowry to the bride’s family by the groom family members. This event will be accompanied with three traditional Cambodian songs.
2. Tea ceremony: In this event both the groom and the bride are requested to provide tea to their ancestor’s spirits. This is followed by the Chinese descent Cambodians.
3. Hair cutting ceremony: Hair cutting ceremony is conducted in order to symbolically insist that both the bride and the groom are going to start their fresh married life together.
4. The pairing ceremony: This is the final event that occurs in Cambodian wedding. In this ceremony the left and right wrist of the bride and groom are tied with strings of blessing by their close relatives. This ceremony is accompanied by four traditional songs.
Cambodia Culture and Art
All countries or cities having historic importance know about the value of their historical arts along with their culture. The country of Cambodia is known to exist from B.C.E period and is one of the very oldest countries in this world. It has a good stretch of arts and master pieces in arts right from their earlier periods. The oldest sculpture and crafts reveal the richness of arts and people interest in arts before several centuries. It was during the period of Angkor where Khmer art became very famous. Interest of artists was in their peak level to develop and improve the arts and crafts of the Cambodians. Cambodians traditional arts and crafts were developed to a greater extent in all fields like dance, music, literature, visual arts and film making. Later in the 20th century there happened a decline in the arts and crafts development when Khmer Rouge started killing artists in the country.
Culture of Cambodians:
Cambodian culture has rich and splendid growth and development because of its varied history, as several kingdoms ruled over Cambodia. During each era a new culture was developed and practiced. It has been found that throughout the life history of Cambodian people, the culture of China and India have influenced very much. Indian religion Buddhism and Hinduism were followed by Cambodians. Also Khmer belief was developed by them involving a lot of animistic beliefs. The culture of Cambodia is very unique and they are preserving and following their ancient culture even now.