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Royal Ploughing Ceremony

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His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn & royal consort Princess Srirasmi presided over this important annual farming ceremony. 

Sacred oxen test the ground. Participants rehearse the annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony at Sanam Luang yesterday. The actual ceremony takes place on Monday when the sacred oxen will predict how farmers will fare this year.

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ROYAL CEREMONIES

Abundant food, plentiful water predicted

13 May 2013
Online Reporters
Photos by Chanat Katanyu

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn presides over the Royal Ploughing Ceremony at Sanam Luang ground. The Sacred oxen eat grass and drink liquor, which led to predictions that the country could expect plentiful food supplies and flourishing foreign trade in the year ahead.

Traditional soothsayers predicted good harvests, abundant food production and plentiful water at the Royal Ploughing Ceremony at Sanam Luang near the Grand Palace on Monday morning.

The ceremony was presided over by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, who was accompanied by the royal consort, Princess Srirasmi.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, government officials and a large crowd, including many farmers, attended the ceremony. 

Chawalit Chukhachorn, the permanent secretary for agriculture and cooperatives, performed as Phraya Raek Na or the Lord of the Ploughing Ceremony.

Phraya Raek Na led two sacred oxen, Fah and Sai, to plough a furrow in the ceremonial ground.

Four consecrated ladies in the procession carrying gold and silver baskets filled with rice seeds scattered them into the newly ploughed furrow. Walking alongside the plough were official Brahmans from the Royal Court who chanted and blew conch shells.

Deputy agriculture and cooperatives permanent secretary Supachai Banpabthong, who served in the Royal Ploughing Ceremony as Lord of the Plough, or Phraya Raek Na, scattered rice seeds.

The sacred oxen were offered seven bowls containing grass, paddy, maize, sesame seeds, soy bean, water and liquor.

The oxen ate maize and grass. The Brahmin seers predicted a good harvest, an abundance of food and plentiful water.

Phraya Raek Na was offered three pieces of folded cloth, each of a different length. The one he selected proved to be four kuebs long (four handspans, about one metre).

Based on his selection, water will be plentiful, crops on higher ground will yield good harvests and those in low-lying areas will be slightly damaged.

Rice seeds were strewn over the ceremonial ground after the ceremony, and the crowd rushed to gather them up. The ceremonial grains are considered an auspicious start to the rice planting season. Some people sell them. The price is said to be about 10 baht a grain in rural areas.

The ceremony has been performed in Thailand since the Sukhothai period, some 700 years ago, and is closely watched by farmers across the country.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Royal Ceremonies, Abundant food, plentiful water predicted, 13 May 2013, Online Reporters, Photos by Chanat Katanyu, link


Royal Ceremony Vocabulary

Two sacred white oxen, named Phra Ko Fah and Phra Ko Sai, are taken to plough the ceremonial ground at Sanam Luang yesterday.

Royal Ceremonies - the ancient ceremonies of Thai and other Southeast Asian kings that come from India and that are conducted by court Brahmins (See book for free download Siamese State Ceremonies (1931) (pdf for iPad) by Quaritch Wales)

Royal Ploughing Ceremony - an ancient royal rite held in Cambodia and Thailand to mark the traditional beginning of the rice-growing season พระราชพิธีพืชมงคล (See Wikipedia)

ceremony (noun) - a formal public event งานพิธี
ceremonial (adjective) - related to or about "ceremonies"
ceremonial ground - the place where the ceremony happens

Brahmans - court brahmans, people with special religious knowledge from India who advised kings in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, etc), had knowledge of astrology, calendar-making, warfare, ceremonies, omens, etc   พราหมณ์ (See Wikipedia)

seer -  a fortuneteller, a soothsayer, a person who can see into the future and tell you what will happen ผู้ทำนายเหตุการณ์ในอนาคต, โหร
Brahmin seers

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony is presided over by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, who is accompanied by the royal consort, Princess Srirasmi, on Monday.

abundant - exists in large amounts; more than enough มากมาย
abundant food - lots of food

plentiful - lots of it is available
plentiful water

predict  - people saying what they think will happen
abundant food, plentiful water predicted

Traditional soothsayers predicted good harvests, abundant food production and plentiful water at the Royal Ploughing Ceremony at Sanam Luang near the Grand Palace on Monday morning.

presided - to be in charge of a formal meeting or ceremony เป็นประธาน
presided over by

consort - the wife or husband of a king or queen, the spouse of a monarch มหิษี, มเหสี, ชายาของพระเจ้าแผ่นดิน (See Wikipedia & Wiktionary)
royal consort


accompanied - went together with ติดตาม, ร่วมทาง, เดินทางไปด้วย
accompanied by the royal consort

The ceremony was presided over by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, who was accompanied by the royal consort, Princess Srirasmi.

attend ceremony - go to ceremony, be at ceremony, participate and be a part of a ceremony   
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, government officials and a large crowd, including many farmers, attended the ceremony. 

sacred - considered to be holy or connected with God in a special way ศักดิ์สิทธิ์
oxen - วัวตัวผู้
sacred oxen

plough - when farmers turn over the earth and soil (with a metal "plough") before putting seeds in the earth to grow crops
furrow -
a deep line in the earth that a farmer makes with a plough to put seeds in and grow crops

plough a furrow

plough a furrow in the ceremonial ground.

Phraya Raek Na led two sacred oxen, Fah and Sai, to plough a furrow in the ceremonial ground.

consecrate - a ceremony to make a person or thing holy; to make someone into a priest or priestess or other relgious person 
consecrated ladies

procession - a line of people or vehicles moving in a slow and formal way as part of an event ขบวนรถ
Four consecrated ladies in the procession carrying gold and silver baskets

scattered - spread over a large area กระจัดกระจาย
rice seeds scattered into the newly ploughed furrow

Four consecrated ladies in the procession carrying gold and silver baskets filled with rice seeds scattered them into the newly ploughed furrow.

official - 1. high level people in the government; 2. approved by the government or some authority ที่เป็นทางการ
official Brahmans
the Royal Court - the people and culture at and surrounding the royal palace ข้าราชสำนัก

chant  sing religious song (with a monotone voice) สวดมนต์, เพลงสวดมนต์, ร้องเพลง,  ท่องบทสวดเป็นทำนอง, ทำนองเสียงระดับเดียว,  พูดด้วยทำนองเสียงระดับเดียว

conch shell - สังข์, หอยสังข์
blew conch shells 

Walking alongside the plough were official Brahmans from the Royal Court who chanted and blew conch shells.

paddy - rice after it has been harvested from the field  ข้าวเปลือก
maize - corn ข้าวโพด

The sacred oxen were offered seven bowls containing grass, paddy, maize, sesame seeds, soy bean, water and liquor.

harvest - the of gathering fully grown crops from the field การเก็บเกี่ยวผลผลิต
a good harvest

abundance - lots of something
an abundance of food

The oxen ate maize and grass. The Brahmin seers predicted a good harvest, an abundance of food and plentiful water.

handspan - the distance of one hand, one hand length

Phraya Raek Na was offered three pieces of folded cloth, each of a different length. The one he selected proved to be four kuebs long (four handspans, about one metre).

crops on higher ground - plants grown my farmers on high land (that flooding rivers cannot reach) 
crops in low-lying areas - plants grown my farmers on low land (that flooding rivers can reach) 

yield - the amount produced per rai used in farming ให้ผลผลิตต่อไร่
yield good harvests

slightly - just a little bit
slightly damaged

Based on his selection, water will be plentiful, crops on higher ground will yield good harvests and those in low-lying areas will be slightly damaged.

seed -
the small thing left on ground from cereal crops such as rice, wheat, or corn to make new crops เมล็ดพืช
rice seeds

strewn -
to throw things over a large area
rice seeds strewn over the ceremonial ground

rushed - taken somewhere very quickly ด้วยความเร่งรีบ
the crowd rushed to gather up the seeds

auspicious - lucky; showing signs that suggest that something is likely to be successful โอกาสอันดี เป็นมงคลฤกษ์ suggesting a positive and successful future ที่มีฤกษ์ดี

an auspicious start - a lucky beginning
an auspicious start to the rice planting season

rural - in the countryside (farms, forests), not the city   ในชนบท, บ้านนอก
rural areas


grain - same as "seed"

the ceremonial grains are considered an auspicious start to the rice planting season
the price is 10 baht a grain in rural areas

Rice seeds were strewn over the ceremonial ground after the ceremony, and the crowd rushed to gather them up. The ceremonial grains are considered an auspicious start to the rice planting season. Some people sell them. The price is said to be about 10 baht a grain in rural areas.

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