Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cambodia marks ancient royal plowing ceremony in eastern province

May 28, 2013

Cambodia on Tuesday observed the ancient royal plowing ceremony, a ritual to mark the annual start of agricultural season in this Southeast Asian nation, where about 80 percent of the population are farmers.

The ceremony, held in Kampong Cham provincial town, was presided over by King Norodom Sihamoni and attended by President of the National Assembly Heng Samrin. Officials and representatives from the diplomatic corps and several hundred spectators were also present.

At the event, royal oxen were used to plow and predict crop yields and weather in the year.

King Sihamoni designated Lun Limthai, governor of Kampong Cham province, as the King of the plowing ceremony and the governor's wife, Sun Nang as the Queen of sowing ceremony.

The designated King plowed the rice field by using royal oxen and the appointed Queen sowed seeds on the furrow as the symbol of planting.

After three rounds of plowing across the field, the oxen were offered 7 plates of food: rice, corn, green beans, sesame, water, fresh-cut grass, and wine.

Customarily, if the oxen eat a lot of the offered food, a bumper harvest is expected in the year, but if they eat little, it is believed that the yields will be low.

If the oxen eat grass and wine, it will be predicted that cattle will be plagued by epidemics, and if they drink a lot of water, plenty of water is expected.

At the event on Tuesday, the oxen ate only corn. A court soothsayer predicted that corn crops would give good yields this year.

"This is just the prediction based on the custom of the royal plowing ceremony in the ancient time," Kang Keng, chief of the soothsayers at the Royal Palace, said at the event. "This event is to announce that the agricultural crop planting season has come. "

During the ceremony, there is also a one-day fair of agricultural products, which are made in the province.

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