Cambodia celebrated Water Festival (Bon Om Thook) for the first time in four years (November 5-7)! In 2010, the festival was impaired by the deaths of 353 people in a stampede. Since then, the festivities were held off. This year, many of my students decided to stay back in Phnom Penh instead of going back to their province to experience the festivities first hand.
Water Festival marks the reversal of the flow of the Tonle Sap River. The city of Phnom Penh is the home to around 1.5 million people but adds 2 million more during the festivities. Khmers from the province come into the capital to observe and take part in boat racing along the Sisowath Quay. The festival lasts for three days and also commemorates the end of Cambodia's rainy season. (This year, it was raining during the celebrations!)