Royal ceremony is held today to signal auspicious start for ploughing rice crops


BANGKOK, 9 May 2012  – His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn today deputizes for His Majesty the King in presiding over the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, an age-old tradition to give rice farmers the signal that it is the auspicious time to start the planting season. 

According to the Royal Household Bureau’s schedule, after the arrival of the Crown Prince at the Sanam Luang ceremonial ground at 8.09 hr, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Agriculture and Cooperatives Soopachai Barnpubthong, who has been assigned by His Majesty the King to act as Phraya Raek Na or Lord of the Ploughing Ceremony, will lead his entourage comprising four celestial maidens carrying gold and silver baskets full of grains, for an audience with HRH the Crown Prince.

Before coming for the royal audience, the Lord of the Ploughing Ceremony has already picked a piece of loincloth from three pieces of cloth in different lengths, and the length of the cloth that he has chosen predicts the amount of rain in the year. After the royal audience, the Ploughing Lord and his four maidens, all in resplendent attire, proceed to the ploughing field where a number of Brahmin priests and a pair of bulls are awaiting them.

The Lord of the Ploughing Ceremony then anoints the heads of the bulls as well as the sacred plough and start ploughing three ceremonial furrows in an oval shape, to be 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. After that, the Ploughing Lord ploughs the earth for the three final rounds. At the end of the ceremony, the bulls are presented with seven kinds of foods. Their choices will predict the agricultural produce for the year.

After the Brahmin astrologer announces the prediction, the Lord of the Ploughing Ceremony and the four celestial maidens will bid farewell to HRH the Crown Prince before returning to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. HRH then leaves the ceremonial ground.