Siem Reap Giant Puppet Parade

Float from the Giant Puppet Parade on a Siem Reap street

The Giant Puppet Project and Parade: A Vibrant Celebration of Art and Community in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap, a city steeped in history and culture, is not only home to the magnificent Angkor Wat but also hosts an annual spectacle that brings together creativity, community, and larger-than-life art: the Giant Puppet Project and Parade. Let’s delve into the colorful world of this remarkable event.

Giant Puppet Project Siem Reap banner

Giant Puppet Parade 2024

The 2024 Giant Puppet Street Parade is scheduled for February 24, 2024. Mark your calendars and witness this enchanting display of artistry and community bonding. Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia.

  • Date: 24 February 2024
  • Start time: 6:30pm
  • Starting point: Wat Damnak
  • Ending point: Royal Gardens
    • Stage with more entertainment
Siem Reap Giant Puppet Parade 2024 - route map

Origins and Purpose

The Giant Puppet Project is a community arts project that unites students, performers, and volunteers in a shared mission: to create gigantic, whimsical puppets that come alive during the parade. These vibrant puppets, often several meters tall, sway and dance through the streets of Siem Reap, captivating both locals and visitors alike.

Phare Ponleu Selpak: Nurturing Creativity and Hope

At the heart of this project lies a powerful connection to the Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) non-profit organization. Founded in 1994 by a group of Cambodian refugees, PPS aims to empower vulnerable children through education, arts, and performance. The organization runs a school in Battambang, Cambodia, where children from disadvantaged backgrounds receive free education in various disciplines, including visual arts, music, and circus performance.

The Giant Puppet Project is an extension of PPS’s commitment to nurturing creativity and providing a safe space for expression. Here’s how it all comes together:

Collaboration with Phare Ponleu Selpak: The Giant Puppet Project collaborates closely with Phare Ponleu Selpak non-profit school. Phare artists guide the children participating in the Giant Puppet Project, infusing their creations with creativity and magic. This collaboration not only enhances the artistic quality of the puppets but also empowers the young artists.

Workshops and Skill Development: In the weeks leading up to the parade, artist-led workshops take place. Over 450 children participate, learning puppet-making techniques, storytelling, and teamwork. These workshops are not just about crafting puppets; they also instill confidence, resilience, and a sense of belonging. For many participants, the project becomes a lifeline—a way to escape the challenges they face daily.

Themes and Messages: Each year, the Giant Puppet Parade revolves around a central theme. Children explore topics like environmental conservation, cultural heritage, and personal narratives. Through their puppets, they convey powerful messages to the audience, sparking conversations and raising awareness.

Making Giant Puppets at Wat Damnak - photo courtesy of Jaya House River Park
Making Giant Puppets at Wat Damnak - photo courtesy of Jaya House River Park

The Giant Puppet Parade: A Visual Extravaganza

On the day of the parade, the streets of Siem Reap come alive with color, music, and laughter. Here’s what you can expect:

Giant Puppets: Imagine towering puppets adorned with intricate designs, vibrant fabrics, and expressive faces. These creations are the heart and soul of the parade. From mythical creatures to everyday objects, each puppet tells a unique story.

Community Participation: The parade isn’t a spectator-only event. Locals, tourists, and children join the procession, adding their energy and enthusiasm. It’s a true celebration of community spirit.

Music and Dance: Traditional Cambodian music fills the air as the puppets sway to the rhythm. Dancers in colorful costumes accompany the procession, creating a lively atmosphere.

Honey Bee float in the Giant Puppet Parade, Siem Reap Cambodia
Giant Puppet Parade - Vulture float - Siem Reap Cambodia

Join the Celebration

Whether you’re a traveler seeking unique experiences or a local passionate about community development, the Giant Puppet Parade invites you to be part of something extraordinary. Come, dance alongside the puppets, and celebrate the indomitable spirit of Siem Reap’s children.

Remember, in the heart of Siem Reap, where ancient temples meet modern creativity, the Giant Puppet Parade weaves a magical tapestry of hope, joy, and imagination.

For more information and updates, visit the Giant Puppet Project’s Facebook page.

Craig Dodge , Phare Circus Director of Sales and Marketing, presenting at Arival Activate conference

About the Author - Craig Dodge

Craig Dodge is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Phare Performing Social Enterprise, parent company of Phare, The Cambodian Circus and Phare Creative Studio. Craig gets great satisfaction by applying his travel industry experience to Phare's missions of sustaining jobs in the arts and funding artistic and academic education at Phare Ponleu Selpak non-profit school. He is also driven to promote the unique experiences awaiting visitors to Cambodia. When he's not working, you can often find Craig cycling in Angkor park.

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