Happy Independence Day Cambodia
Celebrating 63 years of Independence From France.
Cambodia has gone through many historical events which led to its’ independence from France on 9 November 1953. I’ve heard many different sides to this day, one of which was how the city was influenced by French architecture, nightlife and culture. This is also the reason why many older folks could still speak French until today.
Since I’ve been here, the country has gone through many quick changes for a developing nation. There’s a lifestyle mall now, with 2-3 more being built in the city for the locals. We could see more high rise residential and office building in construction mode along the streets. People are now able to afford luxury cars, the latest mobile phone models (even I can’t afford them at the moment!), and bigger homes.
Cambodians credit the beginning of independence to the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk who is still loved by all until today.
Witnessing the Independence Celebration in the morning.
This was my first time to join the Independence celebration and I didn’t want to miss it. The news mentioned a gathering at the Independent Monument and lucky for us, we got there in time for the balloon release.
The whole road around the monument was closed and we had to park the motorbike at the of Street 19. There were throngs of students in uniform holding on to a photo of the late King and the current King Sihamoni, all of us making our way to the Independent Monument.
We stood around the roundabout, watching the uniformed band perform songs before the arrival of the King. I was excited at the possibility of seeing him in person since he’s rarely seen in the city.
He arrived, wearing a suit, walking on the red carpet while a staff in traditional outfit held a golden umbrella above him. The Prime Minister and a few Government officials were there too, welcoming him to the celebration. He then walked up to the cauldron, recited a prayer with the monks before lighting the fire.
Balloons were then released into the air to mark the Independence Day celebrations. The sky was so blue today that the colorful balloon looked like tiny Skittles as it floated away. The King made his way down from the monument to greet the people below.
The crowd starting moving towards him, bringing me along with it. I held onto my things and tip toed to catch a glimpse of the King. He shook hands and wished us Happy Independence Day, in this 31 degrees weather. Below are more photos which I took during the celebrations.
Catching the fireworks at Royal Palace.
In the evening we decided to head out to the Royal Palace to watch the fireworks. Traffic was quite bad around the Royal Palace and we got stuck for 30 minutes just to enter the parking lot. We should have walked there instead! Despite the poor judgement, we made it in time for the show. There was already a large crowd sitting in the garden area, with mats and food with their family. We stood and watched the fireworks bursting into the air for 15 minutes.
I guess when we’re used to seeing a grand firework display with a big ending. Hopefully it’ll improve in the next year to come. Here’s wishing Cambodians a Happy Independence Day!
About Yafieda Jamil
A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.