Royal plowing ceremony predicts abundant food, water

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Thailand’s traditional soothsayers predicted an abundance of food production and water during the coming rice growing season in the royal plowing ceremony, marking the beginning of the planting season on Monday, May 13.

The ceremony, held at Sanam Luang ceremonial ground, was presided over by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.

The sacred oxen were presented with seven kinds of food – rice, corn, green beans, sesame, fresh-cut grass, water, and rice whisky. This year, they chose to eat corn and grass and the Brahmin seers accordingly said there would be an abundance of food and water.

Meanwhile, the Lord of the Plow, the permanent secretary of the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry, Chavalit Chookajorn linked traditional Siam with contemporary Thailand, when he was offered three pieces of folded cloth of different lengths and asked to select one.

Chavalit chose the shortest length of cloth and based on his selection, more than enough supply water is foreseen, so there will be a plentiful yield in highland rice paddies but some damage may be seen in low-lying farming areas.

The royal plowing ceremony is a Brahmanic rite, in which sacred oxen plow a furrow at the ceremonial ground of Sanam Luang.

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

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