Area: Total 181,035 km2
Official languages Khmer
PHNOM PENH (capital)
1.519 million (2009)
Currency: Riel (KHR)
Various factors contribute to the Cambodian
culture including Theravada Buddhism,
Hinduism, French colonialism, Angkorian
culture, and modern globalization.
Things we are talking about today:
Family and Marriage
Music and Arts
Clothing in Cambodia is one of the most
important aspects of the culture. Cambodian
fashion differs according to ethnic group and
Khmer people traditionally wear a
checkered scarf called a Krama. The
"krama" is what distinctly separates
the Khmer (Cambodians) from
their neighbors the Thai, the
Vietnamese, and the Laotians.
The long-popular traditional
garment known as
the Sampot, is an Indian-
influenced costume which
Cambodians have worn since
the Funan era.
Sampots are worn over the lower body and
oftentimes nothing from the waist up except
jewelry including bracelets and collars such
as the Sarong Kor, a symbol of Hinduism.
As Buddhism began to replace Hinduism,
Khmer people started wearing
the blouse, shirt and trousers of Khmer style.
Khmer people, both common and royal,
stopped wearing the Hindu-style collars and
began to adopt beautiful decorated shawls
such as Sbai instead.
In fact, a Khmer lady habitually chooses the
right color for her Sampot or blouse, both to
please herself and to follow the costume of
In Khmer culture a person's head is believed to
contain the person's soul--therefore making
it taboo to touch or point one's feet at it. It is also
considered to be extremely disrespectful to use the
feet to point out a person, or to sit or sleep with
the soles of the feet pointing at a person, as the
feet are the lowest part of the body and are
considered to be impure.
When greeting people or to show respect in
Cambodia people do the "sampeah" gesture,
identical to the Indian namaste and Thai wai.
In Cambodia it is not polite to make eye
contact with someone who is older or
someone who is considered a superior.
Khmer cuisine is similar to that of
its Southeast Asian neighbors. It shares
many similarities with Thai cuisine, and
Vietnamese cuisine. Cambodian cuisine also
uses fish sauce in soups, stir-fried cuisine,
and as dipping.
Marriage traditionally is arranged by the parents
of the bride and groom or by someone acting as
their representative. Ideally, the groom originates
the courtship process
Considerations of the benefits to the two families
often figure more prominently in the choice of a
marriage partner than does romantic love.
It is not unusual for decisions about marriage to be
made before a couple has had much contact.
Specialists in reading horoscopes typically are
consulted about the appropriateness of a wedding,
although their advice is not always followed.
The groom pays bride-wealth to the
family of the bride; this money sometimes is used
to buy jewelry or clothing for the bride or defray
the cost of the wedding.
Legally, the husband is the head of the Khmer
family, but the wife has considerable
authority, especially in family economics.
The husband is responsible for providing shelter
and food for his family; the wife is generally in
charge of the family budget, and she serves as the
major ethical and religious model for the children,
especially the daughters. Both husbands and wives
are responsible for domestic economic tasks
Cambodian Dance can be divided into three
main categories: classical dance, folk
dances, and vernacular dances.
1. Khmer classical dance is a form of
Cambodian dance originally performed
only for royalty
2. Khmer folk dances, which are performed
for audiences, are fast-paced. The
movements and gestures are not as stylized
as Khmer classical dance. Folk dancers wear
clothes of the people they are portraying
such as Chams, hill tribes, farmers, and