Press Releases

Their Majesties the King and Queen to Preside Over The Royal Ploughing Ceremony 2024

The ancient royal tradition to mark the start of the rice-growing season and forecast the harvest is being held annually at Sanam Luang in Bangkok and this year takes place on 10 May.

Bangkok, 9 May 2024 – Their Majesties King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida have graciously consented to preside over the Royal Ploughing Ceremony on Friday, 10 May 2024 at Phra Meru Grounds (Sanam Luang) in Bangkok. The Ceremony will commence at 08.00 Hrs.

Their Majesties the King and Queen will be accompanied by members of the royal family. Ambassadors and representatives of the diplomatic corps from over 80 foreign embassies and consulates as well as international organisations in Thailand, along with many distinguished guests, will also be present.

This year, Mr. Prayoon Insakul, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, has been appointed as Phraya Raek Na (Lord of the Royal Ploughing Ceremony). Officials from agriculture-related agencies have been selected for the roles of Celestial Maidens.

Cultivating and Royal Ploughing Ceremony

Phra Ratchaphithi Phuetchamongkhon Charot Phra Nangkhan Raek Na Khwan (the Cultivating and Ploughing Ceremony) consists of two ceremonies, which are Phra Ratchaphithi Phuetchamongkhon or the Cultivating Ceremony and Phra Ratchaphithi Charot Phra Nangkhan Raek Na Khwan or the Ploughing Ceremony.

The Cultivating Ceremony, which is a Buddhist ceremony, was initiated during the reign of King Rama IV of the Great of the Royal House of Chakri. The Ploughing Ceremony is an ancient Brahmanic tradition that can be traced back to the Sukhothai Period (more than 700 years ago).

The two Royal Ceremonies are related to each other. They are aimed at bringing propitiousness to the nation’s crops, boosting farmers’ morale, as well as heralding the start of rice-growing season. In addition, these ceremonies provide foreigners with an opportunity to appreciate Thailand’s fine culture and traditions. These annual events had been observed until 1936.

The Cultivating Ceremony and the Ploughing Ceremony were revived in 1947 and 1960, respectively. And have been held together since then. His Majesty the King regularly performs the function every year.

During the period after the revival of the Ploughing Ceremony, the Director Genera of the Rice Department served as Phraya Raek Na or the Lord of Ploughing. The four Celestial Maidens would carry silver and golden baskets containing rice seeds for scattering during the Ploughing Ceremony. Currently, Phraya Raek Na has become the role of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, while the Celestial Maidens have been chosen from single females of the Ministry.

Cultivating Ceremony

This year, the Cultivating Ceremony will be held during the afternoon of 9 May at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha inside the Grand Palace. The Ceremony is presided over by His Majesty the King. He performs religious rituals and prays for the abundance on the Cultivating Ceremony, which seeks to bring propitiousness to the crops. At this Ceremony, His Majesty the King confers the Nine-Gemmea Rings and the Royal Good to Phraya Raek Na and anoints the Celestial Maidens’ foreheads.

Subsequently, Phraya Raek Na and the Celestial Maidens leave of the back of the ceremonial pavilion at Sanam Luang where the ceremonial oxen are staying. Phraya Raek Na will anoint the heads of the ceremonial oxen, whish his hands in a bowl and feed water to them. After that, Phraya Raek Na and the Celestial Maidens will spend time with the oxen in preparation for the Ploughing Ceremony, which will be held in the next morning.

Ploughing Ceremony

The Ploughing Ceremony will be held in the morning of 10 May at Phra Meru Grounds (Sanam Luang) in front of the Grand Palace.

At the beginning of the Ceremony, Phraya Raek Na will perform a rite to predict the amount of rainfall during the coming season by selecting one of the three pieces of cloth that are in different lengths; name 4 khuep, 5 khuep and 6 khuep (khuep is a Thai unit of linear measurement from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the middle finger when the hand is fully spread out).

Depending on the selection, the predications are as follows:
The shortest one (4 khuep) is chosen: it denotes that there will be abundant rainfall, paddy in the upland areas will be plentiful, but paddy in the lowland areas many suffer from damage.
The medium one (5 khuep) is picked: there will be an average amount of rainfall, rice will be abundant, fruits and meat will be bountiful.
The longest one (6 khuep) is selected: it means that there will be little rainfall, paddy in the lowland areas will be plentiful, but paddy in the upland areas may suffer from some damage.

The selected piece of cloth is to be worn by Phraya Raek Na.

At the auspicious time, after the arrival of His Majesty the King, Phraya Raek Na together with this entourage leave the ceremonial pavilion in procession to start the Ploughing Ceremony. After paying respect to His Majesty the King, he proceeds to the Ploughing area.

Nest two ceremonial oxen are yoked to plough handle. Phraya Raek Na then takes the handle of the plough and begins to plough three concentric furrows and three crosswise furrows, and at the same time, scatters the rice seeds from the basket carried by the Celestial Maidens. After that, the ploughs three more rounds to cover the seeds. When the ploughing is over, the oxen are unyoked and are presented with seven different types of food and drink: rice seeds, maize, sesame seeds, mung beans, hay, water and rice liquor.

Depending on what the oxen have eaten, the prediction area as follows;
Rice seeds or maize: cereals and fruits will be bountiful.
Mung beans or sesame seeds: fruits and food will be plentiful.
Water or hay: there will be average rainfall. Cereals, fruits, food and meat will be abundant.
Rice liquor: convenient, transportation prosperity and flourishing of foreign trade and economy.

After the ceremony is over, attendees who gather to witness the event will rapidly crowd onto the field and pick up the sacred rice seeds to take home and mix them with their own rice seeds for auspiciousness or to keep as a lucky charm.

Farmer’s Day

In 1966, the Royal Ploughing Ceremony was designated as the Farmer’s Day. The purpose is to create awareness among farmers of the importance of agriculture and provide them with an opportunity to join the ceremony to bring auspiciousness to their occupation.

All photos courtesy of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives
(file photo of The Royal Ploughing Ceremony 2023)

Show More

TAT Newsroom

The TAT International Public Relations Division works with traditional and online media channels to promote Thailand as a tourism destination for travellers worldwide.

Related Articles

Back to top button
Verified by MonsterInsights