Introduction

My grandma has asked me many times what day or month it is in the Khmer calendar. I typically respond by sifting through temple calendars for the appropriate date. After some time I started to realize the beauty of Khmer dates in terms of Roaj and Keit and how it correlates to the moon phases. Khmer calendar is an intriguing and mysterious system.

At first, I thought the Khmer calendar system would be similar to the international calendar we use every day except for the lunar phases. But when I saw the complex ways in which extra months are added to certain years I became more curious about the system, especially since few seem to know the mechanics of this system.

When I was first involved in a project to create the C-HOPE Khmer calendar, I found that the print shop typically use dates based on calendars generated by local temples. In order to complete the project, we had to wait until very late in the year for calendars from local temples. I also encountered another issue where calendars from different temples showed discrepancies. It was almost impossible to determine the correct one. I became increasingly intrigued and began collecting calendar printouts, hoping to uncover its mysteries.

Apart from the discrepancies in different calendar printouts, it was also extremely difficult to determine calendar dates for past and future years. Thus, one of my main goals is to computerize the Khmer calendar system so that anyone can look up dates from the past or future.

This research will introduce the basics of the calendrical systems, but it will focus mainly on the mechanics of Khmer traditional calendar. I will discuss how Cambodians traditionally count years by using 12 animals, Sak, and different eras. I will discuss the Cambodian New Year and how the New Year date is determined.

In addition, we will have online utilities to display the calendar for different years.

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