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Silk and Local Festivals

Dublin Core


Silk and Local Festivals


In Khwao Sinarin District, an annual weekend-long festival has been organized for the past few years to celebrate and spread awareness of the local knowledge and cultural heritage of the area’s inhabitants. Students design their own booths that depict their classes’ relevant efforts, such as learning kantreum music and exchanging with silk weavers, and community groups construct elaborate floats and tableaux that become part of a large parade. In the evenings, audiences can enjoy music and dance performances, silk fashion shows, and beauty competitions. Nearly every person who attended this festival in 2013 dressed in local textiles.

The festival activities often require the performance and embodiment of a reimagined ancient Khmer identity that is not rooted in a clear historical narrative. Though this glittering vision could be viewed as problematic, pride and excitement emerge within the space of the fantasy, and the energy and sense of shared identity generated by the festival increase the determination of local people to continue their cultural safeguarding efforts. Many young women who are not accustomed to wearing silk decide to wear it during the festival period, and one woman, P’Ann, said that putting the silk on her body made her feel “different” and more conscious of how a piece of silk is a manifestation of arduous work and love.