This year’s Royal Ploughing Ceremony was carried out on Wednesday (17 May), signaling the start of the rice growing season in Thailand. The annual ceremony is meant to uplift the spirit of farmers and bring them a good harvest.
The Buddhist part of this year’s ceremony was held at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, with the Brahman part observed at Sanam Luang royal plaza.
Their Majesties the King and Queen visited Sanam Luang to preside over the ceremony this morning. This year, Agriculture Ministry permanent secretary Prayoon Insakul handled the role of Lord of the Plough.
The Brahman ceremony involved using unhusked rice, corn, mung beans, sesame, liquor, water, and grass as offerings to sacred oxen. The latter chose the grass offered, and this was interpreted as a foretelling of a sufficient amount of water for the growing season. Liquor was also consumed by the sacred oxen, and this was taken as a forecast for improved trade with foreign nations and increased convenience in transportation.
On this occasion, His Majesty the King presented honorary plaques to farmers recognized for their wisdom as well as outstanding contributors to agriculture in Thailand.
Once all parts of the ceremony were complete, a large number of observers poured onto the ceremony grounds to collect rice seeds earlier used. The crowd that visited Sanam Luang comprised ordinary members of the public as well as farmers. Some hailed from the provinces and made the journey as they wanted to collect the rice seeds used in the ceremony to grow in their fields. Some parents visited with their children so the latter could learn about the important royal ceremony. (NNT)