Soc Trang – where the mighty stand together

A visit to the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang, where the Kinh people and Khmer and Chinese ethnic groups live together, offers a glimpse of the locality’s diverse culture and religious life.

Soc Trang province has been renowned for its ancient pagodas with unique architectural styles which reflect the culture and belief of each ethnic group. The province is now home to 92 Theravada pagodas, 75 Mahayana pagodas, and three Chinese pagodas with more than 2,000 monks, nuns and Buddhist followers.

Besides, it is also easy to spot ancient Khmer pagodas in Soc Trang city such as Kh’leang, Mahatup and Som Rong. Particularly, Som Rong, famous for the giant reclining Buddha statute, has special Khmer imbued lintels. The pagoda is closely associated with the cultural, daily and spiritual life of local community.

The province’s cultural diversity is also illustrated through its large festivals like Sene Dolta, Chol Thnam Thmay and Ok Om Bok.

Chol Chnam Thmay New Year is considered as the biggest festival on the Khmer calendar, which takes place around mid-April of the solar calendar every year. The festival expresses the wish for a new year of favourable weather conditions and bumper crops.

Meanwhile, Ngo boat race is the most enticing part of the Ook Om Bok – the Festival of Worshipping the Moon, which is an important event of the Khmer people.

The recent recognition of the Khmer ethnic minority people’s Ngo boat race in Soc Trang province as a national intangible heritage is expected to assist the community in maintaining and promoting their unique cultural tradition

The Khmer believe the moon is a God who controls the weather and crops throughout the year. On this occasion, Khmer people provide offerings of farm products to thank the God’s blessing for favourable weather and their bountiful harvest. 

Besides gorgeous landscapes of ancient pagodas, visitors to Soc Trang province also have the opportunity to engage in an array of cultural activities to gain a deeper insight into the locality’s diversely cultural and religious life./.