Cambodia celebrates royal ploughing ceremony in western province

KAMPONG SPEU, Cambodia: Cambodia on Sunday (May 26) celebrated its ancient royal plowing ceremony here in the country's western part under the auspices of the nation's King Norodom Sihamoni.

The ceremony, which marked the annual beginning of the farming season, was also attended by Cambodian Senate President Hun Sen, National Assembly President Khuon Sudary, and Prime Minister Hun Manet, as well as foreign diplomats.

Thousands of locals also watched the event, which was held at a field in the province's Chbar Mon town, about 48km west of the capital Phnom Penh.

At this year's event, King Sihamoni assigned Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang as the King of the plowing ceremony and the governor's wife Chhun Sin as the Queen of the sowing ceremony.

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

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

If the oxen eat a lot of agricultural items, it is believed that agricultural crops will give good output in the year, but if they eat little, it is thought that the yields will be low.

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

At the ceremony, the oxen ate about 95 per cent of rice, 95 per cent of corn and 85 per cent of green bean, Kang Keng, chief of the soothsayers at the Royal Palace, said.

"This is just the prediction based on the custom of the royal plowing ceremony in the ancient times," he said.

"This ceremony is to announce that the farming season has come." - Xinhua

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