Public festivities celebrating Khmer New Year were held for the first time in South Korea on Sunday, drawing a crowd of about 20,000, according to the Facebook pages of Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng and the Cambodian Embassy in Seoul.
The “Moha Sankranta Khmer” was held in a park in Suwon city—about 30 km south of Seoul in the northwestern province Gyeonggi-do—on the last day of the holiday.
“This is the first big event that has never happened before,” Long Dimanche, Cambodia’s ambassador to South Korea, said in a video announcing the party. “It is an event that we conceived for people who couldn’t go to join the festival with their families in Cambodia.”
About 60,000 Cambodians live in South Korea, he said.
The celebration was organized by the Cambodian Embassy, the Labor Ministry and the Cambodian community living in South Korea, with funding coming from the private sector in both countries, as well as the Cambodian government, he said. No details on the funding were given in the video, which was posted on Thursday on the Facebook page of the Cambodian Embassy in Seoul.
The ambassador, who could not be reached on Monday, also said the event would help promote Cambodian culture, and feature traditional Khmer dance, martial arts such as bokator, games, music and cuisines.