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

  • First Khmer woman to pass out of West Point

    The life of a soldier certainly isn’t for everyone. The training is gruelling, the hours long and there’s no room for excuses. On top of that, soldiers must be ready to respond to sudden threats at a moment’s notice. Just ask Sithyka

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last