Most Cambodian festivals are related to Buddhism or to the agricultural seasons. There are two New Year's celebrations. Each one marks the beginning of the year for a different group of the population. The first one is held in late January or early February depending on the lunar calendar. It is referred to as Tet. This New Year is observed by the Chinese and the Vietnamese who live in Cambodia. Tet is celebrated with a parade. People also visit each other and sometimes give gifts of toys and new clothes to children.

On April 13 Cambodians celebrate their New Year. It marks the end of the harvest season. This festival lasts for three days. People visit their families during this time. Food is offered to the village wat. The young girls of the village perform dances.

The Buddha is celebrated on May 15, in a feast called Vesaka Bochea. This day marks the birth and death of the Buddha, and the day of his enlightenment. People bring food to the village wat and offer flowers. They ask for good fortune for the coming year.

The three-day festival of the reversal of the waters is celebrated in October or November depending on when the waters of the Tonle Sap reverse and flow back into the Mekong River. Boat races are held at the capital, Phnom Penh. Each village entering the race builds a dugout canoe with a prow and stern that curve upward. The prow is painted with a large eye like those that decorated the war vessels of ancient times.

A boat can have as many as 40 rowers. Pairs of boats race each other for the first two days. A race including all the canoes takes place on the last day of the festival. The purpose of this race is to make the god of the river happy so that there will be many fish and the rice crop will be plentiful.

Each year on May 20 a "Day of Hatred" is held to remember the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1978. This regime destroyed much of Cambodia's cultural and intellectual life.

January 7 National Day: celebrates Vietnamese overthrow of Khmer Rouge
February 18 Cambodian Vietnamese Friendship Day
April 13-15 New Year's
April 17 Victory over American Imperialism Day
April or May Royal Ploughing ceremony
May 1 Labour Day
May 9 Genocide Day, memorial to mark Khmer Rouge atrocities
May 20 Day of Hatred
October 30 and November 1 Birthday of King Norodom Sihanouk
November 9 Independence Day
September 22 Feast of the Ancestors