Showtime: Cambodian New Year 2007

By: Borann Heam
Staff Writer (Khemara Times)

Long Beach, CA – The Cambodian Coordinating Councils (CAM-CC), recently, introduced this year’s Cambodian New Year dates.

In a Board of Directors meeting on January 6, 2007, CAM-CC discussed the details of making Cambodian New Year 2007 possible in Long Beach. The tentative dates are: April 7, 2007, which will host the Third Annual Cambodian New Year Parade along Anaheim Street; and April 21, 2007, which will host the Seventh Annual Cambodian New Year at El Dorado State Park.

Although, the core dates for this year’s Cambodian New Year are April 14, 15, and 16; none of these dates are an option. According to Phylypo Tum, Second Vice-Chair of CAM-CC, the City of Long Beach has already planned the Toyota Grand Prix on that weekend.

“April 14th is our ideal date to celebrate Cambodian New Year since it will be the first day of Khmer New Year 2007,” he said. “This is the year of the Pig, when the New Year angel, Mohurea Tevy, will come down
around noon riding on a peacock as she carries a disc of power on her right hand and a trident on her left.”

In previous meetings with the City Manager, David Ashman, Tum also confirmed that the city will be heavily understaffed, especially the Police Department, during the Toyota Grand Prix; therefore there will not be enough staffs to allocate for Cambodian New Year at El Dorado Park, if CAM-CC chose to have their event that day.

On the bright side, one thing is certain; this year’s Cambodian New Year Parade on April 7th, will not conflict with the Toyota Grand Prix, said Richer San, First Vice-Chair of CAM-CC. Instead, people can look forward to a spectacular program, which he believes will surely woo thousands of spectators towards Anaheim Street once again.

“This year’s parade will give us an opportunity to select the first and second [best] float for display at the El Dorado Park celebration on the following week,” he said. “Right after the parade, we plan to
invite well known singers from Cambodia and entertainers and performers from other ethnic groups to join us on stage in Mac Arthur Park. In addition, there will be more food, information, and game booths. We expect to attract more people coming to the parade
this year than 2006.”

As a compromise to the Grand Prix, CAM-CC decided to have their follow up celebration on April 21st, and despite the fact that both dates are still tentative, everyone can still look forward to having a good time, said Phylypo Tum. “People can look forward to many activities that we have every year such as the live bands with famous and popular singers, variety of stage performances and shows from different ethnic
groups, and student groups. There are activities for kids such as: face painting, children's games with prizes. The other important activities will be Khmer traditional games such as Choung and Bos Angkhugn that will be played throughout the day. Traditional
ceremonies such as monk chanting and sand hill ceremony will also be performed at the religious booth to commemorate the New Year.”

Towards the end of the meeting, a finance report was given. Thanks to some kindhearted donations, CAM-CC has fundraised over $30, 000 for this year’s events. More than half of the total amount came from a
generous donation, courtesy of, Sound Energy Solutions. The remaining sum came from a pool of committed individual donors.

With only four months away until the actual festivities begins, there is still must work to be done, said Richer San. “The Parade will need more money and volunteers,” he said. “We would like to appeal to the general public for donations and volunteers.”

Echoing a similar statement, Phylypo Tum said: “Planning is very important for a successful and safe event. We are also in the process of getting sponsorship to help out with the cost of the events. We are brainstorming for new ideas to make the event more enjoyable for everyone. Our team is actively recruiting more volunteers of all ages to help out.”