Written and photographed by Daranie Mor

Cambodia has an intriguing tradition of welcoming the new Buddhist year, currently at year 2562. This celebration lasts for three days, each day dealing with a different part of our lives. Other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Laos and parts of India also celebrate their new years upon the arrival of harvest season.

The first day, Maha Songkran, celebrates the last day of the previous year. On this day, families show a debt of gratitude to Buddha for blessing them. People wash their faces in the morning, their mid-sections in the afternoon and their feet at night with sacred water for good fortune.

One of the other traditions Cambodians have is the act of creating a sand hillock at the temple, that represents a Buddhist Stupa, by everyone attending the celebration. This hump of sand is a communal act to showcase unity in building an enlightened future.

Being able to embrace my Cambodian heritage at temples in Georgia, I feel connected to my homeland.