Cambodia celebrates Festival of the Dead

STORY: Hundreds gathered at Vihear Suor pagoda, some 46km outside of Phnom Penh to watch the races and also traditional wrestling matches for the first time in two years. his year, about 60 buffalos and horses competed in the comical race which saw decorated water buffalos thundering by with riders clinging onto their broad backs.

In the pagoda, people were busy filling monks' alms bowls with cooked rice, laying out a lavish feast for the monks and donating money to buy food for them. These acts are believed to reach the souls of deceased family members.

People come seeking luck and prosperity gather from all over the country for the two-week long festival which ends on the 15th day of the 10th month of the Khmer calendar.

The Festival of the Dead honours ancestors but it has become more significant since the fall of the Khmer Rouge. From 1975-79, millions were executed or died of torture, starvation, or exhaustion during the Khmer Rouge's disastrous bid to create a peasant utopia.