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Cambodian Group Joins US Asian Festival

Fear for the loss of the Khmer language among the youth and an intent to safeguard Khmer culture prompted a group of Cambodian-Americans to join the sixth Asian Festival this weekend in a city near Washington.

The festival, held in Reston, Va., in the suburbs of the capital, sought to bring greater understanding of Asian cultures to the public through music, cultural performances, food, fashion, handicrafts and other products.

“Our Khmer children growing up in the US don’t speak Khmer much,” Sophia Tep, who is in charge of Cambodian Community Day, told VOA Khmer. “They don’t understand the Khmer language.”

Cambodian Community Day seeks to promote the Khmer traditions through culture and dance, and seeks especially to encourage Cambodians to speak their mother tongue, she said.

This was the second year the Cambodian community took part in the festival. Participants hope it will help boost tourism to Cambodia.