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Chol Chnam Thmey! Happy Cambodian New Year! We get three days of celebration, to spring clean, play, and give to our loved and respected ones. Yesterday is the day for cleaning or decorating the house, for good luck. Today is the day of giving. Tomorrow is the first day of the new year, when people douse each other with water or baby powder, for luck, and eat yummy foods. It is also the day of the 1st total lunar eclipse of the year.

The first day is for getting your house in order, and making it pretty; the second day for the appreciation of your loved and/or respected one. and your special place in their lives; the third day is for self-renewal, in play and sustenance. And the eclipse--well, that is serendipitous and necessary poetry.

I celebrate with the first cycle of the spring, along the river Corrib after lunch. Yellow primroses speckle the shadowy grass and hawthorn blossoms sheathe the hedgerows in silvery white. Mallards peer from reeds and wood pigeons wheeze in their shelter of newly green woods. Tis a sweet afternoon, after the long night of winter.


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