P’jum Ben Day is also called the Ancestors' Day in English and could be compared with the All Souls day in the Christian tradition

This festival is unique to Cambodia, and it is not celebrated elsewhere. We always start to celebrate it on the first day of the tenth month in the Khmercalendar, Pheaktrobotr, and it lasts until the 15th day. It is our big festival to pay our respect to relatives of up to 7 generations who passed away. This year, September 20th is the first day of this religious festival lasting fifteen days, each of which is called a day of Kan Ben.

We bring all sorts of different things to the pagoda during the 15 days of celebration because we believe that some of our dead relative receive punishment for their sins and burn in hell - they suffer badly and are tortured there. We also believe the souls and spirits come to receive offerings from us because the gates of hell open at this time.

Each household around Cambodia visits their temples of choice and offers food or other things to the monks. People always prepare the food for the monks for breakfast and lunch. During the ceremony, people wake up at 4:00 a.m. and also prepare food for the 'hungry ghosts' – ball rice with sesame, small snacks, candy etc. to offer to the ghost or spirit that are released to the Earth for 15 day to collect the food or thing that their relatives offer.

The main days are on the 13th, 14th and 15th day of the celebration. This year it means October 3rd, 4th, and 5th, which are public holidays. The most important day is the last one. People make different type of traditional cakes from sticky rice (rice, cooked in coconut milk and containing various ingredients depending on local customs) to bring to the pagoda and share with the neighbors, friends and relatives. Each pagoda has its turn of preparing the food for the monks. A dedicated family or group of families is responsible to spend money and prepare the food for the monks and other families can also bring their own food to join the day.

Pjum Ben song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQyLnD6oa44