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Khmer Culture Society and Customs
Khmer culture Society and Customs Lifestyle Today's Cambodia is both modern and traditional. In the present world, institutions and laws ensure that advancing in society is possible for anyone with ambition and talents. But Cambodian culture has old and deep roots, and traditional Cambodia society is established in customs and attitudes that are centuries old. Cambodian believe they are born into a place in society that is determined by the Karma ( the effects of thought and deed) of their past lives. However, for their acts of Thveu Bonn - making merit- they can advance their social position. Despite this, there will always be people they deal with who are higher or lower status. And this must be acknowledged by proper speech and the relevant gestures and actions appropriate to the given social situation. Thus, for most Cambodian, there are always superiors to respect, meaning people who are given special treatment because of their higher status.
Many visitors to Cambodia are left puzzled by the presence of spirit houses. These small shrines are seen throughout the country , and look like tiny temple mounted on pillars . They are used by both Buddhist and animist minorities in order to show respect to the recent departed .Buddhist believe that leaving offerings at the spirit houses wish luck in the next life for the recently deceased , who are awaiting reincarnation in t5he underworld .In doing so , they also believe that they are giving themselves good luck .As such, it is not uncommon to see spirit houses at businesses and homes throughout Southeast Asia
The ethnic minority followers of animism in the more remote parts of Cambodia also believe in the use of spirit houses .However, the spirit houses play a much more significant role in their lives .According to animist traditions, the recently departed must exist as spirit in the forest until they are reincarnated .They take great care in not offending the spirit , as they believe that unfortunate events such as disease are caused by angered spirit . Thus they leave offerings at the spirit houses in hopes of remedying illness , often in lieu of seeking medical treatment.
Most marriages in Cambodia are arranged, with the couple usually getting to meet each other on several occasions before thing are finalized and a propitious date for the wedding suggested by a fortune-teller. On the day of wedding itself, loud music starts up well dawn at the bride's house. Proceedings start off with the procession of the bridegroom and his party, to old and young alike carry trays of food - including an obligatory pig's head. The bride has to get through at least six costumes during the day, ranging from beautiful silk ceremonial sampots - traditional wraparound skirts - to an often garishly coloured Western-style wedding gown. The receptions are vast, often taking over the whole road, though the bride and groom seldom know many of guests, as all their family members will have invited practically everyone they know. The aim is to make a profit on the day, and guests are required to stump up not presents but a cash contribution.
The Cambodian codes of behavior, based on restraint and courtesy, discourage a hearty belly laugh, but Cambodian does smile a lot. Amusement and expressing thanks are two obvious reasons to smile. Cambodia also tends to smile in order to side-step difficult questions, to excuse any lack of courtesy, and to cover their embarrassment. They do not smile to appreciate ironies, though, and have virtually no sense of black humor. But the readiness with which Cambodian smiles is one of the more charming aspects of the Cambodian
The majority of the people of Cambodia are followers of Theravada, or Hinayana, Buddhism. Buddhism was introduced to Cambodia between the 13th and 14th centuries and is the state religion until now. Theravada doctrine stresses thee three principal aspects of existence: Tukha ( suffering, unsatisfactory, disease), Anichea ( impermanence, transience of all things) and Annatto ( no substantial or no essentially of reality: no permanent 'soul').
In Cambodian society, the immediate family is much more important than the extended family. And the mother's side of the family rate higher than the father's. Cambodian does not form kin-ship groups as found in Chines and Indian societies, and extended family ties are not as important. But within the immediate family, Cambodian is very close to one another. Relationships are based on the younger generation honoring and obeying the older generation, and appearing humble before them. Younger siblings obey older brothers and sisters, while the older ones assume responsibility for the behavior of the younger ones. Cambodian women play vital roles within the family and in the community, for they nurture their own children and provide food for the community's monks when the monks make their morning rounds.
Note: If any holidays fall on Saturday or Sunday then the following day is Monday will be an official holiday