Cambodian & Lao New Year Celebrations in the Central Valley of California
A 12 year study
by Randy Magnus
It seems that every six years I have the honor of being with the Cambodian and Lao communities in the Modesto area when they celebrate their New Year's celebrations.
There was a Cambodian Buddhist temple down the street from me, and I would attend some of their festivals.
I moved away in 2001, came back in 2007 and in 2013 to experience their new year celebrations. At first I would be with the traditional dancers and the musicians. Later with the vendors and the monks.
This collection of photographs was taken during the Lao & Cambodian New Year Celebrations in the Central Valley of California. I spent day three, known as Sangkhan Kheun, with the Lao community as they arrive at Wat Lao Buddharangsy dressed in traditional clothes, carrying containers of the traditional food from their home country of Laos.
Randy Magnus grew up in the Central Valley farmlands of California, and saw the cultural diversity that came into the area as the population grew. He learned to celebrate what the different cultures had to offer in the arts, food, and lifestyles. With his cameras Randy would document the cultural celebrations, showing the pride in what sets each culture apart, perserving a part of their unique heritage to share with others. Randy Magnus has work in several museums, including MOMA in New York City, the Oakland Museum, and the Achenbach Print Collection at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco. He has had one-man shows in San Francisco, New York, and Amsterdam. .
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