By Punya Wijetunge
Photos by Punya Wijetunge
The Cambodian community in Utica and the surrounding area, celebrated their twentieth New Year at the Utica Sutikaran Temple on April 14-16.
“The temple serves more than eighty families in and around Utica,” said the Chief Monk Chameun Kaorl.
A variety of cultural and religious activities took place over the three-day celebration. These included music by a Cambodian band, Cambodian food stalls, and poojas, or prayers to the Buddha.
Ven. Karol said this year is the celebration of the year of Rabbit in the Chinese Zodiac calendar. The year of the Rabbit is a celebration of longevity, peace and prosperity.
Rosi, a Senior at Proctor High, said she loved coming to the temple every year to celebrate the new year with her grandma and family. She said it gives her opportunity to reconnect with her cultural origins. Rosi explained that her grandma came to the US when the Cambodian genocide took place. She further added that the temple was a place for her to learn more about her Cambodian heritage, especially Cambodian music.
Bunsan Lim, a seamstress by trade, a mother of four, and a grandmother of ten, loves coming and spending time in the temple. She said she is a regular patron at the temple.
About two hundred Cambodians were a part of the celebration for 2023. While many live in and around Utica, some traveled to attend this important celebration. ￼