Khmer New Year is by far the biggest holiday in Cambodia. Cambodians celebrate by playing all sorts of games that they only play this time of year. Last Friday everyone at work bailed out of the office around 2pm and congregated in the patio area for some traditional fun. A brief recap of events:
Objective: smash your opponents’ kneecaps.
Two teams (usually men vs. women) take turns bowling or throwing hardened dried palm seeds (angkunh) at three other seeds about 25 feet away. The object is to knock the left and right angkunh out of the way without hitting the middle one. If you are unlucky enough to make this disasterous mistake, your team loses and the opposing team will bludgeon your kneecaps with their remaining angkunh. Actually it’s more of a friendly tap.
The following games have Khmer names, but they were too much for me to handle so I’ll stick with the ones I made up.
Objective: be the first to pop all your balloons. Do you burst them out one-by-one or take them all out with the hammer stomp? Winner gets a round of applause.
Objective: stick a spoon in your mouth, balance an egg on it and run to the finish line without losing the egg or crashing into spectators. I finished second in the first heat, then adjusted my strategy and won the final playoff vs. a guy from accounting. Winner gets a six-pack of Tiger beer.
Objective: be the first to devour a dangling apple without using your hands. Winner gets a handshake from the boss. Easily the most hilarious game we played.
Objective: smash the jar. Basically a piñata game. Don a blindfold, get spun around by a co-worker and try to smash a suspended clay jar filled with flowers and baby powder. Winner gets the 5,000 riel banknote hidden inside. Everyone else gets enveloped by a cloud of talc.
This came after the banquet, catered by a local restaurant. Lucky draw is a raffle game that’s wildly popular in Cambodia, on par with karaoke and Angkor beer. Prizes included a t-shirt, a wall clock, soda, flowers and a rice steamer. Sadly, #026 wasn’t lucky.