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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Royal Ploughing Ceremony

Royal Ploughing Ceremony

Today was the Royal Ploughing Ceremony at Sanam Luang in Bangkok, this year being presided over by HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.

Photo : Charnnarong Porndilokrad

In the ceremony, two sacred oxen are hitched to a wooden plough and they plough a furrow in some ceremonial ground, while rice seed is sown by court Brahmins. After the ploughing, the oxen are offered plates of food, including rice, corn, green beans, sesame, fresh-cut grass, water and rice whisky.

Depending on what the oxen eat, court astrologers and Brahmins make a prediction on whether the coming growing season will be bountiful or not. The ceremony is rooted in Brahman belief, and is held to ensure a good harvest.
This year, they chose to eat grass and the Brahmin seers accordingly said there would be an abundance of food and average water.

Meanwhile, the Lord of the Plough was offered three pieces of folded cloth of different lengths and he selected one of widest length. Based on his selection, less water is foreseen. There will be a plentiful yield in low-lying farming areas but some damage may be seen in highland rice paddies.

Four consecrated ladies carry gold and silver baskets filled with rice seed, which they scatter into the newly ploughed furrow. Walking alongside the plough are Brahmans who chant and blowing conch shells.

After the ceremony, the public is allowed to collect the rice seeds as a symbol of good luck and abundance.

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