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. Considered 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.