Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rice, corn, beans this year's bumper crops: royal oxen

Rice, corn, beans this year's bumper crops: royal oxen

Royal oxen ceremonially till the land at the Royal Ploughing Ceremony in Svay Rieng province on Thursday. Facebook
Royal oxen ceremonially till the land at the Royal Ploughing Ceremony in Svay Rieng province on Thursday. Facebook

Rice, corn, beans this year's bumper crops: royal oxen

King Norodom Sihamoni presided over the Royal Ploughing Ceremony in Svay Rieng province on Thursday morning, with the event’s prognosticating oxen again forecasting a promising outlook for the agricultural production of beans, corn and rice.

The annual festival marks the beginning of the agricultural and rainy season, and centres around two royal oxen tasked with choosing from seven chalices containing rice, corn, beans, sesame, water, grass and rice wine. The oxen’s choices portend which crops will flourish in the coming growing season.

After six oxen, decked in regalia, were taken around the field for a symbolic tilling of the land, two of the oxen were unyoked and led to the six chalices to make their choice – though one was initially a little reluctant to partake of the proffered foodstuffs.

Ten minutes later, as is tradition, royal astrologer Kang Ken observed how much the oxen had eaten and made his declaration for the upcoming agricultural season.

“Ninety-five percent of rice was eaten, 95 percent of corn was eaten, and 80 percent of beans were eaten,” he announced to the crowds.

“This is only the prediction according to the traditional ploughing ceremony,” he said, adding that he would call on everything sacred to ensure there are good rains for the upcoming harvest.

Last year’s celebration was hit by a thunderstorm that destroyed the tents and the field used for the festivities. However, after a quick fix, Ken gave a similar prediction when the oxen ate most of the corn, rice and beans on offer.

The tradition dates back to the prevalence of Hindu customs in the early Khmer civilisation and traditionally involves ceremonial tilling performed by either the king or two representatives, called Sdech Miech and Preah Mehour. It is considered auspicious for the oxen to eat the rice, corn, beans and sesame – the amount of each eaten signifying the prospects of the upcoming crop.

The drinking of the water suggests that there will be good rains, but if the oxen drink too much, it could signify floods. Eating the grass would foretell disease, whereas gulps of the rice wine is a harbinger of conflict.

Svay Rieng farmer Khieu Sarun said on Thursday that she followed the results of the ceremony closely, and was pleased she would have a bountiful crop this year.

“I believe the prediction because it was correct in the past. I was happy when the oxen ate 95 percent of the rice; this mean there won’t be much pests like last year. I also hope that the rain is regular and normal this year,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • US imposes sanctions on Oknha Pheap and Kun Kim

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed strong dismay on Monday over the designation of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap and General Kun Kim under the US’ Global Magnitsky Act. “It is very disturbing when the public figures of a country become the

  • Mother, daughter killed in hotel fire

    The bodies of a mother and daughter were found locked in an embrace after they were killed in a hotel fire in Phnom Penh at around 3:30am on Wednesday at the Phkar Chhouk Tep 2 Hotel and Restaurant in Phsar Doeum Kor commune, in the capital’

  • EBA withdrawal a destruction of EU achievements, PM says

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the EU’s possible suspension of its Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement amounted to a destruction of its achievements in the Kingdom and the demise of the opposition group. Hun Sen made the remarks while addressing more than 6,700 students during

  • Rights Day forum denied in Sihanoukville

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration last Saturday denied the request of land communities for a public location in the province to celebrate International Human Rights Day 2019 as the administration had already held forums to discuss land issues. However, the land community representatives said they would

  • US told to refrain from interfering in Sokha case

    Senior Cambodian officials said on Thursday that the US can monitor Kem Sokha’s trial as it wishes but would not be allowed to interfere in court procedures. The point was made in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments on Wednesday

  • Sri Lanka’s LOLC Holdings plans to sell Cambodian unit

    LOLC Holdings Plc, Sri Lanka’s second-largest publicly traded company by revenue, plans to sell its 70 per cent stake in Prasac Microfinance Institution Ltd, which also counts Hong Kong’s Bank of East Asia Ltd. as a shareholder, LOLC deputy chairman Ishara Nanayakkara said. Nanayakkara