Today is Cambodia\s independence day. This country became independent from France in 1953. French influence still can be seen downtown along the Russian boulevard, where nice trees and grass are planted in between the two lanes. Also in some parts of Phnom Penh, the streets follow the similar pattern in a manner they are laid out as in Paris.
For the ordinary citizen, the independence day means an extra holiday (and Cambodians have almost monthly few holdays) and day off from school and work. Some schools are closed also tomorrow. There are flags at the streets, and a big parade near the Independence monument, but no other traditions.
I went to Wat Phnom, a temple on the hill. This word is also in the the name of Phnom Penh, which means hill lady. Wat Phnom and Shedagon in Yangon have been opened around the same time, 1370s. To my surprise, I did not see a single monk in the temple. I saw ordinary people lighting their incents or candles, or bringing food and lotus flowers to the gods, or putting money into the glass boxes. The most unique things were some people burming money in the small owens, or letting the swallows free. The swallows were in a cage, you pay to the lady, and you get one or two swallos into your hands, pray and let them go. This is supposed to bring you good life.