As in many Asian countries, Cambodia holds sacrificial festivals. The three-day festival of Bonn Chaul Chnam (the New Year) is celebrated in April and also marks the end of the harvest period. People bring sacrifices to thank the gods for the harvest and to secure their favours for next year. This takes place on altars in the home and in the temples. The traditional games that are played after the sacrifices are an interesting and enjoyable spectacle.
A second sacrificial ceremony is held in September, this time in honour of the dead. The fifteen day festival of Bonn Dak Ben culminates in the night of Bonn Phchum Ben. It is believed that if there have been no sacrifices by midnight on this night, the dead relatives will unleash a curse on the family out of anger, which will plague them for a year.
Independence Day, the most important Cambodian festival, is celebrated on the 9th of November and marks the day in 1953 when Cambodia gained official independence from France. Every year this event is celebrated with a large-scale gala parade for the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Under the watchful eye of the king, many marching bands and military forces parade along the palace.