Running for 15 days, the Phchum Ben Day Festival is dedicated to blessing the spirits of the dead. This is one of the most culturally significant in Cambodia, culminating in celebrations on the 15th day of the tenth month in the Khmer lunar calendar, at the end of the Buddhist lent (usually late September or early to mid-October).
During the celebration people bring food to the temple for the monks, and also to feed the “hungry ghosts” of their late ancestors, relatives and friends. The pagodas are usually crowded with people taking their turn to both make offerings and beseech the monks to pray for their dearly departed.
Everyone participates because they don’t want the spirits of their dead family members to come seeking offerings in vain. It is believed that wandering spirits will look in 7 different pagodas, and if those spirits cannot find offerings from their living relatives, they will curse them.