The Mawlid, or annual celebration of the anniversary of the respected ‘saint’ Imam San, was performed by his followers on Monday 3rd September 2007, on the top of Udong Mount – a former khmer capital – where the Imam San founded his community by the 19th century.
This day is the occasion for the members of the group – almost 40 villages spread through the provinces of Kpg Chhnang, Pursat and Battambang – to meet with their siblings, either from the community or not. Indeed this very particular event attracts as well numerous Muslims of other trends, either practicing or not any Mawlid, and some Khmers.
The celebration starts on the eve, with the lighting of candles to accompany the wishes made to the Imam San, and the melodious reading of the same stories of the Prophet as those you would hear on a Muhammad Mawlid.With the daylight come the prayers performed by the elders on the Imam San commemorative tomb as others enter the mosque to pursue the chanting.
While chatting, greeting each other, meeting, each family assembles the cakes of specific shapes commemorating both the human body anatomy and Champa ornaments.
These ‘offerings’ brought to the mosque – a tradition not unknown to other Malay populations – precede the naming and hair cutting of the newly born to conclude the festivity.
Phnom Penh, February 11, 2013, Emiko Stock.
* Originally published in Du Fin Fond Du Grenier Newsletter III, September 2007.
Those little field-notes are reminiscences of the past blogs and shares. While they are not proud of their flaws, I thought they shouldn’t be punished for it. Hopefully you will forgive them to be just as they come, just as they will remain.
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