On September 11th we were in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The plane landed earlier than the scheduled time of 7.20 am and we were on the road by 7.20. The first stop for us was the Killing fields of Choeung Ek which is about 15 kms from the airport.
It took us nearly two hours to reach Choeung Ek…. And there were jams all along the way. Interestingly the jams were due to people visiting the monasteries and not due to work starting early.
The Cambodian people believe that in the month of September, their relatives who were consigned to hell due to their misdeeds get a 15 day vacation to visit the Earth. During this time, their earthly living relatives are supposed to make offerings in the monasteries so that the spirits feel they are remembered and loved. That’s what caused the jams on the roads !!!
Most Cambodian households also have a spirit house outside their homes, and everyday make offerings to the dead. This belief predates Hinduism and Buddhism in Cambodia. It is from the time that Cambodians practised Animism. Very fascinating how almost all religions and cultures have different ways of remembering the dead – Hinduism talks of a yearly ceremony to be done by the sons for their parents, especially the father. And in all these ceremonies the priest is the intermediary …
The way traffic jams are happening across the major cities of the world, it almost looks like hell has given permanent vacation to its inhabitants and the spirits of the those that did evil things on Earth have taken residence here permanently causing accidents too ?? Food for thought !
Categories: Daily Reflections