Royal Ploughing Ceremony celebrated in Bangkok heralds the planting season in Thailand. Know more.

Royal Ploughing Ceremony

Location: Sanam Luang
Time of Celebration: April/ May
Highlights: Marks the Rice-Planting Season & Predicts the Outcome of the Yields

Royal Ploughing Ceremony is a traditional royal rite of Thailand that sees celebration at Sanam Luang in Bangkok. The event takes place during the month of April / May and heralds the rice-planting season in the country. In Thailand, the event is presided over by His Majesty and the King himself takes part in the ceremony by guiding the plough behind the oxen. According to local beliefs, celebrating the event proffers an auspicious touch to the new planting season. Originally, it was a pure Brahmanic ritual. However, during the rule of King Rama IV, certain Buddhist elements were incorporated into the event.

Observation of the ceremony in Thailand dates back to the Sukhothai period. Nonetheless, the event lost its festive zeal, until King Bhumibol Adulyadej revived it in 1960. Therefore, rice grown on the Chitralada Palace grounds, home of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, is planted in the ceremony by appointed court Brahmins. The King then initiates the ceremony by ploughing the ground and offers farmers his blessings for a productive harvest. Royal Ploughing CeremonyConsidered as auspicious, these seeds are then collected on completion of the ceremony by farmers, who either mix them with their own stock or keep them as propitious charms.

Once the ceremonial ploughing is over, two sacred bulls tethered to a wooden plough are offered seven different platters of food, comprising of rice, corn, green beans, sesame, fresh-cut grass, water and rice whisky. Depending on the bulls' choice of food, court soothsayers make a prediction on the agricultural produce for that particular year. During the ceremony, the King also encourages agricultural production by presenting various awards and certificates to meritorious farmers whose fields had yielded highest amounts of produce during the previous year.

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