Thailand Royal Ploughing Ceremony
The Royal Ploughing Ceremony is the annual ploughing ceremony which is celebrated every year during the month of May and is presided over by the King of Thailand. The ceremony has been performed since ancient times and is designed to give an auspicious beginning to the new planting season. The government of Thailand has declared the day as an Annual Agriculturalists day in order to encourage farmers to take part in this ceremony.
The ceremony is performed in the month of May but not on a fixed date. So, an auspicious day and time are set by the royal Brahmin astrologers. Once upon a time even Kings used to take an active part in ploughing, but nowadays the King no longer takes an active part. Instead he has appointed a “ploughing lord” as his representative to carryout the rites and rituals.
During the ceremony the amount of rainfall in that particular year is forecasted by the royal astrologers. The forecast is done through a tradition method. In this method three lengths of cloth are offered. The three cloths are similar but varies in length. If a cloth of long length is selected then it means that Thailand will receive a great amount of rainfall in coming season, and if the short cloth is selected, it represents limited rainfall while the medium cloth represents medium rainfall.
After the forecast, ploughing starts with a sacred plough drawn by white bulls and followed by women carrying gold and silver baskets full of rice seeds. In front of the plough a Brahmin walks chanting the sacred words to ensure that the next harvest is fruitful and plenty.