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.

  • Published: 13/05/2013 at 10:56 AM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

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.

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.

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.

Photos by Chanat Katanyu

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