Colors ពណ៌ (por) are significant in Cambodian culture. Learning how to name colors in Khmer language ពណ៌ជាភាសាខ្មែរ (por chea pheasaeakhmer) can be helpful in many ways. Without colors, you cannot see the real beauty of Cambodia. You will find it hard to identify one thing from another. What would be the world without colors? Can you imagine that?
In Cambodia, colors have different meanings and use. It can be used to identify the color of something that you want to buy, understand important signages, and sometimes, your own stuff when it was lost or being delivered to your hotel room. But, more than that, you should also learn the significance of colors in Cambodian culture. You should learn how to identify colors in Khmer. That's what we are going to learn in this blog.
Cambodia has a very rich culture that can be drawn back from its history. We cannot deny the fact that Cambodia has the influences of other neighboring countries and was colonized by the French but, religion has been the primary source of cultural inspiration. This is one thing that makes Cambodia unique among other countries. One of the cultural treasures of Cambodia is their tradition for the seven colors for official Cambodian ceremonies.
In special ceremonies such as traditional weddings, silk fabric is worn by Cambodians. Only the Royal family, high-ranking class families, and performers used this type of textile throughout their history. But, nowadays, silk is used to make both traditional and modern clothes and for special events such as birthrights, weddings, and other important ceremonies.
So what do colors have to do with these ceremonies? People follow the code of seven colors during the official Cambodian ceremonies. What is interesting about this is each color has to be strictly worn on the following day of the week. Hoping to find success, happiness, harmony, luck, and good health. These colors are not just for aesthetic purposes. Each color symbolizes something that is really relevant to Cambodian culture. Try learning these colors in Khmer language:
English Translation: Red
The red ក្រហម (por krahom) fabric is worn on Sunday. This color symbolizes bravery or courage ភាពក្លាហាន (pheap klahean). Cambodia has a long history of the Khmer Rouge which is why it is not surprising that bravery or courage is really important to their culture. In fact, one of the colors that can be found on the Cambodian flag is red ក្រហម (por krahom).
English Translation: DarkYellow (Yellow-Orange)
The yellow ពណ៌លឿង (por leong) fabric is worn on Monday. This color represents equality (សមភាពsampheap). Did you know that Cambodian people really value equality? Because of what happened to their history, they have learned how important to treat each other properly and equally. They know how to respect individuals and their rights as humans.
English Translation: Purple
The purple ពណ៌ស្វាយ (por svay) fabric is worn on Tuesday. This is also one of the most significant Khmer colors because it symbolizes honesty and loyalty ភាពស្មោះត្រង់ (pheap smaohtrang). In Cambodia, the people are very proud of their culture and heritage. They have a deep love for their country and its people. Being loyal to others and the country is one of the Cambodian values that they truly cherish.
English Translation: Light Green
The light green ពណ៌បៃតងខ្ចី (baitorng khchei) fabric is worn on Wednesday and it embodies justice យុត្តិធម៌ (youttethmr). Cambodians view about justice can be drawn from their past experience. Dith Pran, a Cambodian photojournalist, and Khmer Rogue survivor said, "It is important for me that new generation of Cambodians and Cambodian Americans become active and tell the world what happened to them and their families." With this statement, we can feel how Cambodians value justice.
English Translation: Green
The green ពណ៌បៃតង (por baitorng) fabric is worn on Thursday. This is one of the must-learn colors in Khmer because represents hope សង្ឃឹម (sangkhum). You can easily describe a Cambodian to be hopeful. Almost every Cambodian has their own stories about hope. Did you know that Cambodia has one of the youngest populations in Southeast Asia? With this, bringing hope to these young populations is really essential for their progress. If Cambodians invest in these young people and mold them into responsible citizens of the country, it can transform their society.
English Translation: Blue
The blue ពណ៌ខៀវ (por khiev) fabric is worn on Friday. The color blue ពណ៌ខៀវ (por khiev) signifies forgiveness ការអភ័យទោស (kar aphytos) which is a very sensitive topic among Cambodians. We will not go deeper about it but, if you have been reading about Cambodia for a while now, you will understand why forgiveness is a big word among Cambodians. Like what they say, "Forgiveness does not change the past but, it does enlarge the future."
Here's a quick tip for you. Asking for forgiveness and apologizing is a polite and nice thing to do. If you want to learn how to apologize in Khmer, you can check this blog.
English Translation: Dark Purple
The dark purple ពណ៌ស្វាយចាស់ (porsvay chasa) is worn on Saturday. This color is also important in Cambodian culture because it embodies sadness ភាពទុក្ខព្រួយ (pheap toukkh pruoy). You may think that it's a negative abstract thing but, come to think of it, how can you appreciate happiness if you don't know how sadness feels?
Now that you have learned the seven colors in Cambodian culture, let's now move on to other basic colors that you can use in your daily lives. Remember, do not leave this blog post without learning these colors.
|ពណ៌ទឹកក្រូច||por tuk krauch||orange|
|ពណ៌ប្រផេះ||por bra pheh||grey|
Now that you have learned the different colors in Khmer, the next thing you must do is practice. If you find time to practice, every lesson, no matter how hard it is, will give you a successful result. So, try practicing these sentences related to colors in Khmer.
|មេឃពណ៌ខៀវ||mekh por khiev||The sky is blue.|
|ខ្ញុំមានសក់ពណ៌ខ្មៅ||khnhom mean sak por khmaw||I have black hair.|
|នាងបើកឡានពណ៌លឿង||neang baek lan por leong||She drives a yellow car.|
|ឆ្មាររបស់អ្នកពណ៌ស||chhmar robsa an k por sor||Your cat is white.|
|ពណ៌ខ្មៅជាពណ៌ដែលគាត់ពេញចិត្តជាងគេ||por khmaw chea por del keat penhchett cheangke||Black is his favorite color.|
|ពណ៌ក្រហមមិនមែនជាពណ៌ដែលគាត់ចូលចិត្តទេ||por krahom minmen chea por del keat chaulchett te||Red is not his favorite color.|
Imagine being able to connect with other people in the world. Imagine having conversations with the locals of a foreign country using their native language. Imagine having great career opportunities because you know many foreign languages. This will definitely make your life more colorful than it is. Global understanding is what we need nowadays. If we learn to appreciate diversities, the world will be a lot better and colorful place to live.
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The world is colorful for a reason. Why not make it more colorful through learning Khmer and other languages?