2010 Cambodian New Year Celebrated In Long Beach

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
By Ashleigh Oldland
Staff Writer
Uptown Gazettes (Long Beach, California, USA)

April marks the beginning of a new year for Cambodians. The angel Mondar Tevy, who wears a flower behind her ear and cat’s eye gemstones around her neck, is said to ride her donkey down to earth and bless the coming year.

In celebration of the 2010 Cambodian New Year, the nonprofit Cambodian Coordinating Council (Cam-CC) is hosting two events, a parade on Sunday, April 4, and a party on Saturday, April 10.

Dan Durke, event coordinator and spokesman for Cam-CC, said the sixth annual Cambodian New Year Parade on Anaheim Street from Junipero Avenue to MacArthur Park, will feature between 70 and 100 parade entries. Marking the beginning of the Year of the Tiger, the procession starts at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Junipero and Anaheim.

Thousands of residents and visitors are expected to come together for the parade, filling the Cambodia Town street with unique and colorful floats, musicians and traditional and modern Cambodian dancers, Durke said.

Officially taking place from April 14 to 16, the Cambodian New Year is one of the biggest celebrated holidays for Cambodians, Durke said.

“It is the Buddhist new year, but also, our people finish harvesting at this time of year, so we celebrate that,” he explained.

On Saturday, April 10, the 2010 Cambodian New Year Celebration will take place at El Dorado Park Regional Park in Area III (enter from Spring Street between Studebaker and the 605 Freeway) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Religious ceremonies, exotic food, traditional games, face painting and live performances will be a part of the public event.

Admission to the celebration is $40 per vehicle, which includes the $7 park entry fee. Discounted tickets may be purchased in advance at participating locations — visit www.cam-cc.org for a list of vendors.

Durke said the parade and celebration are especially significant in Long Beach because the city has the highest population of Cambodians living outside of Cambodia.

“This is a place for family and friends to gather and reunite,” he said. “A lot of us have been dispersed in the area. This allows us to find each other.”

The population of Cambodians in Long Beach is largely due to Cambodian refugees settling in the area, a precedent set in the 1960s when the first Cambodian student in the United States came to Long Beach to learn English, Durke said.

The event coordinator also said two events are something anyone can enjoy — even those who are not Cambodian.

“We have a little bit of everything for people to do,” he said. “We would like to invite everyone to celebrate the Year of the Tiger.”

With the message, “Suor Sdey Chhnam Thmey,” Cam-CC officials said they wish the Long Beach community a happy Cambodian New Year.

Applications for parade entries or booths for either event are being accepted now.

For more information, visit www.cam-cc.org.


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