Friday, May 11, 2012

Thai Coronation Day and the Royal Ploughing Ceremony

photographs embedded with permission - Bangkok Post 

Thailand had two very special days recently – Coronation Day and the Royal Ploughing Ceremony.

Coronation Day marks the coronation of King Rama IX on the 5th of May in 1950. The Royal Ploughing Ceremony marks the beginning of the rice-growing or farming season, and similar ceremonies are held in several countries where agriculture plays a pivotal role in the national economy - such as China and India. 

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony, these days presided over by the king in Bangkok,  is a Brahman ritual designed to give an auspicious start to the new planting season and encourage a good harvest that year.

During the ceremony two sacred oxen are hitched to a traditional wooden plough and they plough in some ceremonial ground followed by Brahmin priests scattering rice in their wake. The oxen are then offered seven foods - rice whisky, water, rice corn, grass, green beans and sesame. In the past, the Court Soothsayers would make predictions on the success of the forthcoming crop growing season depending on which foods the oxen chose to eat.

These days, after the ceremony ends the crowds scramble for the seeds sown on the ceremonial ground as they are regarded as omens of good luck. Farmers will mix these seeds with their own rice to ensure a good crop in the coming year.


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