BANGKOK, 9 May 2014 – Thailand should see an average amount of rain in the upcoming rice growing season and abundant food production this year according to the prediction made at the annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony this morning.
The ceremony held at the Sanam Luang ceremonial ground, was presided over by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. At the ceremony, Permanent Secretary for Agriculture and Cooperatives Chavalit Chu-khajorn, who was assigned by His Majesty the King to act as Phraya Raek Na or Lord of the Ploughing Ceremony, led his entourage comprising four celestial maidens carrying gold and silver baskets full of grains, ploughed three ceremonial furrows in an oval shape, followed by another three rounds of ploughing while scattering the grains from the basket carried by the celestial maidens amidst the blowing of conches by Brahmin priests.
As part of the ceremony, the pair of sacred oxen used in the ploughing chose to eat grass and drink water, out of the seven proposed bowls containing grass, rice paddy, maize, sesame seeds, bean, water and liquor. Their selection means fair amount of water and plenty of food for the country this year. On the part of Phraya Raek Na who was offered three pieces of folded cloth, each of a different length, he picked the one of six Khuebs (handspans) long, signifying that water would be little, resulting in good rice harvest in low-lying areas while plantations on higher ground would be slightly damaged.
Upon completion of the ceremony, the crowd, mostly farmers from various parts of the Kingdom, rushed to collect rice seeds sown in the ceremonial field, in order to mix them with their own grains as a good omen for their fields. The annual Ploughing Ceremony is also an occasion when awards and certificates are handed to outstanding farmers from each region, whose fields produced the highest yields during the previous year.