Got up at 6am to cook for the offering at the pagoda? No, it was about to get a glimpse of the popular annual horse and buffalo racing. The information was not so clear. When asked what time the race would start? 6:30 am was the answer. There was no time to waste then.
When we arrived at the scene, there weren’t any men! We didn’t know where would be the best place to stand and witness the exciting event. We walked around through the mud while there were a few men with their unready horses arriving slowly.
Not long after we got our best stance, there were more decorated buffaloes with their proud riders. With yellow clothes over their heads, the riders were not all from Vihear Sour village but some of them came from nearby villages and from as far as Kampong Cham province.
As the rising sun cleared the limited cloud, there were so many people young and old coming over that it was enough to make us feel worried whether we could still have a clear view of the race.
Before the race started, all of the riders and racers (the animals) directed to a sacred place to pay their prayers and asked for victory. The animals indeed did not want to come close to humans and were very irritated with the too-many cameras spotting on them.
The praying time before dawn.
There was a little boy who liked to show off. He was on his little white pony trying to gain the cheer from the crowds. Poor pony was just too obedient….but poor the pony…I bet he wanted to rebel.
As excitement grew stronger….racers came back and forth so that animals get used to the muddy roads while people were cheering. People applauded the racers and animals as if they were welcoming Hollywood stars. How awesome!
Actually, the race was finished without our realization. People were so ready to get dirty on the Friday morning, the final day of Pchum Ben festival. Sure we will come again next year.