KHMER SOUL

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Rice is the soul of the farmer in Cambodia. The tradition of rice production has existed since the birth of Khmer land, before the earliest of the temples were constructed by the ancient Khmer kings.

For the Khmer people rice is a woman and is a mother. She has a name and each of her names (each crop) must be addressed with “Miss”. You may have heard of one of them, “Miss Malis”, known in English as Jasmine Rice. She has a life from birth (planting) to childhood, through puberty to adulthood and on to the end of the cycle, “harvesting”, giving way to a new crop. Then the cycle of a new life begins again, as the new crop is replanting, giving birth to a new cycle of life.

When a farmer’s infant is born, the newborn baby takes part in a birth ritual in which rice is the soul. The baby has direct contact with this ‘white gold’ by sitting on a basket of rice to receive the empowerment. There are seven cycles of life in the journey of a Cambodian, from birth, puberty, adulthood (for men is to become a monk for as short as three months or as long as he wishes, after which he is ready to be a husband), for woman (seclusion in the shade, after which she is ready to be a wife), parenthood, old age, and death. Each of these cycles is accompanied by a ritual with rice, for rice is the soul of the nation, the mother of nutrition, the witness of life.

In this modern day, rice remains the soul for the farmers and the staple crop to all the Khmer people throughout the Kingdom.

Montra Nivesha strives to support this beautiful but forgotten culture of man and nature by supporting the village economy of rice production. We purchase organically-grown rice directly from Thount Chroum Village which is about 30km from Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor. This allow the farmers to have a direct income and encourages them to maintain their traditions and the importance of rice to the community.

The rice you are enjoying in Montra Nivesha is an indigenous Cambodian organic rice directly from the fields of the farmers. Every bite of the rice you have taken is a direct benefit to the farmers whose lives and culture relies on our support.