Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ploughing ahead: Sacred oxen predict ‘abundant’ Thai harvest

Ploughing ahead: Sacred oxen predict ‘abundant’ Thai harvest

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Participants performs a ritual with an oxen during the annual royal ploughing ceremony presided by Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn near the Grand Palace in Bangkok on Thursday. KRIT PHROMSAKLA NA SAKOLNAKORN/THAI NEWS PIX/AFP

Ploughing ahead: Sacred oxen predict ‘abundant’ Thai harvest

Thai astrologers on Thursday predicted an “abundant” harvest after a pair of sacred white oxen munched on grass and rice, and slurped up water in an annual ritual watched by newly crowned King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

The monarch, seated next to his new Queen Suthida, observed the “royal ploughing ceremony” symbolising Thailand’s fortunes.

The colourful procession, led by two Hindu Brahmin priests, saw two white oxen walk a field to the sound of blaring trumpets.

Women, dressed in traditional Thai clothing and carrying trays of jasmine flowers, trailed behind the bulls to the sound of red-clad musicians beating drums.

The ceremony, which dates to the 13th century, marks the start of the growing season for Thailand, one of the world’s top rice exporters.

Royal soothsayers base their predictions on which foods the animals choose to eat after the ploughing.

The oxen are offered banana leaf-wrapped bowls of rice, corn, green beans, sesame, liquor, water, and grass.

This year, the animals “chose to eat rice, grass, and water among the seven offers,” said Meesak Pakdeekong, of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to the king and queen.

“The rainfall would be just enough and . . . the royal astrologer predicts rice, grain, fruit and food would be abundant,” he added.

Following tradition crowds rushed into the field, after the departure of the king, to pick out auspicious rice grains scattered during the ploughing.

The annual ceremony comes just days after the end of King Vajiralongkorn’s weekend coronation, a ritual-laden event rich with Buddhist and Hindu influences.

Thailand – second in rice exports after India – shipped out more than 11 million tonnes of rice worth over $5.6 billion in 2018.

But the Thai Rice Exporters Association predicts a slowdown this year to 9.5 million tonnes due to fierce competition from India and Vietnam.

MOST VIEWED

  • Archeologists find ancient phallic statue

    An archeological team has found a metre-long tipless stone linga (penis) of the Hindu deity Shiva in the foundations of a temple in Kratie province’s historical Samphu Borak area, a former capital of the pre-Angkor Empire Chenla period. Thuy Chanthourn, the deputy director of

  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Sihanoukville authority orders structure dismantled

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply. Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on

  • Police seek arrest of Chinese ‘gang’

    Cambodian police remain on the lookout for 20 Chinese nationals who earlier this month posted a video clip threatening to stoke insecurity in Preah Sihanouk province, though the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh maintained the group posed no threats to Cambodia’s national security. National Police