Every few weeks my boys read over Tribe Vibe, commenting on photos, reminiscing about things we have done or dreaming of future trips we might take, such as the Tanzania holiday. Last week, my eldest asked me why I had written about the carnival in Switzerland and not the Giant Puppet Parade in Siem Reap, an annual event in the spirit of carnival, we were lucky enough to participate in three years running.
The Giant Puppet Project is a community based arts project involving various local organizations. The puppets are made from rattan and paper, and the event is used as a platform to make people aware of Cambodia’s endangered and indigenous species.
It creates an important sense of community building, establishes team work, gives hope, offers pride and commendation. The disadvantaged Cambodian children and expat kids thrive in the two full day workshop as they work hand in hand to create these pieces of art. One could not ask for a more beautiful setting of the workshop. A gorgeous pagoda in the middle of Siem Reap!
The puppets range in size (10 to 30 meters) and are prepared in the ancient style of Chinese dragon puppets. Each puppet conveys strong cultural or environmental themes.
Two weeks later, one is treated to a beautiful parade, a magical night of recognition by the town and tourists as the glowing puppets dance down Pub Street and through the town in the hands of their creators. Along the way, donations are collected for next year’s parade and you will see children eagerly dropping 100 riel notes into the collectors baskets, which perhaps is the best evidence that it is an event cherished by the local community as much as the tourists and expats.
We feel blessed to have been part of it!