PHNOM PENH, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen on Friday opened the Angkor Sankranta 2018, an annual festival celebrating the traditional lunar New Year in Siem Reap province in the northwest of the country.
Held at the complex of the famed Angkor Archeological Park, the opening ceremony was live broadcast on state-run National Television of Cambodia and the Bayon TV.
Hun Sen said it was the sixth consecutive year that the Southeast Asian nation organized the festival, which was also aimed at attracting more tourists to the world heritage site of Angkor.
"The Angkor Sankranta is also an opportunity to show foreign tourists and friends about the glory and richness of our culture, civilization, custom, tradition, and religion since the Angkorian era until now," he said, adding that the festival also contributed to preserving arts, culture and national identity.
Meanwhile, the prime minister said the festival also reflected peace and stability in Cambodia as 2018 marked the 20th anniversary of the complete end of chronic war in the country.
"At any cost, we must protect this hard-won peace," he said.
Events at the four-day festival included religious ceremonies, traditional dances, traditional games, sports, trade exhibitions, and concerts, among others.
According to Siem Reap Provincial Governor Khim Bunsong, the Angkor Sankranta 2018 was expected to draw 2 million visitors, up from about 1.6 million in last year's festival.
Sankranta festival is also celebrated in neighboring Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.
Unlike those countries, Cambodia bans people from splashing water on one another, throwing bags of water on travelers, or painting charcoal or powder on others' faces during the celebrations in order to prevent any incidents that could arise from these activities.