On April 12, the President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front’s (VFF) Central Committee, Huynh Dam sent a letter of congratulations to the Khmer community on their traditional New Year festival, Chol Chnam Thmay.

In his letter, Dam sent his best wishes to the Khmer community, wishing them a happy and joyful New Year festival.

He praised the Khmer community for their absolute trust in, and compliance with, all the government’s policies and laws, as well as their enthusiastic participation in all the programmes launched by the VFF.

He said he believes that the Khmer community will continue to develop their tradition of solidarity, patriotism and will help to carry out the country’s socio-economic, security and defense tasks for 2012.

Tthe same day, a delegation led by the Deputy Head of the Steering Committee for the Southwest region, Nguyen Phong Quang, visited and presented gifts to Khmer households and monks and nuns in several pagodas in the southern province of Soc Trang.

He wished the Khmer people a happy traditional festival, saying that Buddhist followers in the province should step up their solidarity to help develop the area.

Quang gave a briefing on some new policies the Party and government have introduced, while reminding the Khmer community to be beware of hostile forces and distorted arguments that aim to take advantage of religions to damage the State and Party, contrary to the national interests.

Soc Trang province is home to nearly 400,000 Khmer people.

Also on April 12, numerous festive activities were held in Bac Lieu province to celebrate the Chol Chnam Thmay festival, including a meeting of more than 400 dignitaries from Khmer pagodas and Khmer people working and living in the province.

Thach Quyet, a representative from Xiem Can Pagoda in Vinh Trach Dong district said he is delighted at the achievements that the Khmer community has made in socio-economic areas, especially eradicating poverty in the locality. He said he hopes that the government will continue to look favourably on the Khmer people.

Currently, there are 66,176 Khmer people in the province, counting for 7.66 percent of the province’s total population.

Over Apr.11-12, the third Khmer Culture and Sports Festival took place in Vinh Long province, as part of many activities to celebrate the Khmer people’s traditional Tet. The event, which featured the cultural identity of the Khmer community attracted a large number of people from the area.

Hau Giang province also celebrated the Chol Chnam Thmay festival. Provincial officials visited and presented gifts to many Khmer people and monks and nuns in several pagodas in the districts of Vi Thuy, Long My and Vi Thanh city.

The Chol Chnam Thmay festival, which falls annually in mid-April, is one of the most important festivals of the year for the Khmer people. It is usually held in pagodas and on these days, people wish and pray for a lucky new year .-VNA