Commemoration Day of King’s Father, on October 15, is observed annually in Cambodia. The full name of the holiday is ‘Commemoration Day to the Royal Soul of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, Preahmahaviraksat, King-Father of the Cambodian National Independence, Territorial Integrity and Unity’. It commemorates the death of Cambodia’s former king Norodom Sihanouk on October 15, 2012. Born October 31, 1922, to Norodom Suramarit and Sisowath Kossamak, Sihanouk was crowned king of Cambodia on May 3, 1941.
History of Commemoration Day of King's Father
The public holiday pays respect to Cambodia’s former king and prime minister, Norodom Sihanouk, who passed away on October 15, 2012.
Sihanouk was born as the only child to Norodom Suramarit and Sisowath Kossamak on October 31, 1922. At this time, Sihanouk’s maternal grandfather, King Sisowath Monivong, reigned as king, though the country was still under French colonization. When Monivong died in 1941, Sihanouk was chosen by Jean Decoux, the Governor-General of French Indochina, to succeed him as king. On May 3, 1941, he was crowned king of Cambodia. In March 1945, the Japanese military which had been occupying the country since August 1941 dissolved the French colonial administration. Under pressure from the Japanese, Sihanouk proclaimed short-lived independence and took on the post of prime minister, in addition to serving as king. This position changed when the French regained control and appointed Sihanouk’s uncle to the office of prime minister. In later years, Sihanouk resumed and relinquished the position over and over again. In August 1953, France agreed to loosen the reins and grant Cambodia control over its interior and judicial affairs. Then, on November 9, 1953, Sihanouk declared Cambodia’s independence from France.
On March 2, 1955, Sihanouk abdicated the throne in favor of his father. Following his abdication, he established a political organization called ‘Sangkum.’ Once again, he became prime minister after the organization won 83% of the votes in the 1955 elections. On April 3, 1960, Sihanouk’s father passed away and Monireth, Sihanouk’s uncle, was appointed to reign as regent. Sihanouk then created and assumed the office of Head of State of Cambodia. On September 24, 1993, Sihanouk was once again reinstated as King of Cambodia, though he later announced plans to abdicate again on July 6, 2004.
Commemoration Day of King's Father timeline
Norodom Sihanouk is crowned King of Cambodia.
Cambodia declares independence from France.
Sihanouk abdicates hus position in favor of his father and forms the Sangkum political party.
Sihanouk is reinstated as King of Cambodia.
Sihanouk again abdicates the throne of Cambodia.
Commemoration Day of King's Father FAQs
What is the population of Cambodia?
Cambodia is home to approximately 17 million people.
Who is the current king of Cambodia?
The current king of Cambodia is Norodom Sihamoni.
What is Cambodia's currency?
The currency of Cambodia is the Cambodian riel.
How to Observe Commemoration Day of King's Father
Study Sihanouk's life
The eventful life of Norodom Sihanouk is one for the history book. Arguably one of the most politically active monarchs of all time, his life is a labyrinth that can hardly be explored in a few pages. Learn more about the fascinating Sihanouk and see what lessons can be learned from his life.
Learn about Cambodia
Cambodia is a beautiful country in Southeast Asia, with a large number of impressive tourist attractions. Take a virtual cruise to Cambodia and learn all you can about the country.
Say ‘hello’ in Khmer
Learn how to say ‘hello’ in Khmer, Cambodia's official language. In formal environments, say ‘Chom Reap Sour’, and informally, you can say ‘Susadei.’
5 Intriguing Facts About Cambodia
Cambodian weddings are a celebration
In Cambodia, wedding celebrations can last as long as three days and three nights.
The Cambodian New Year is in April
Called Choul Chnam Thmey, the Cambodian New Year is celebrated in April.
Insects are cooked and eaten
In Cambodia, it is common to find people cooking up insects such as ants and even spiders.
Angkor Wat is a wonder to behold
The Angkor Wat in Cambodia, one of the wonders of the world, is also the largest religious monument in the world.
There’s no McDonalds
Cambodia has never had a McDonald's restaurant — ever!
Why Commemoration Day of King's Father is Important
Sihanouk brought independence
On November 9, 1953, Sihanouk made history by declaring Cambodia's independence from France. This historic moment altered the landscape of Cambodia forever.
Sihanouk didn’t cling to power
Despite his many vacillations, Sihanouk can't be accused of clinging to power. He abdicated and allowed others the opportunity to lead both the government and the monarchy.
Sihanouk was fascinating
Norodom Sihanouk is arguably one of the most fascinating monarchs to have ever lived. Over and over, he took on different positions as king, prime minister, head of state, and president. This makes him an interesting personality to study.
Commemoration Day of King's Father dates