Bangkok Culture Guides


Ploughing Ceremony in Bangkok

Bangkok Culture | Bangkok festivals and events

If you are visiting Bangkok in the beginning of May, a great local tradition to check out is the Royal Ploughing Ceremony. This ceremony has continued, virtually unchanged for thousands of years. Tourists who watch are treated to a parade and get to see Thai tradition being carried out right before their eyes. The Royal Ploughing Ceremony is a great ceremony to watch and will give visitors great insight into Thailand's rich agricultural background.

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony is held around the second week in May at Sanam Laung near the Grand Palace. The Royal Ploughing Ceremony is an important part of Thai culture because agriculture is the lifeblood of Thailand. The Royal Ploughing Ceremony is overseen by the King and signals the start of the new rice planting season. The Royal Ploughing Ceremony is held to ensure a bountiful harvest and to act as a good omen for the year to come.

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony originated more than 2,500 years ago by the Brahman. Today Brahman astrologers still set the time and date of the Royal Ploughing Ceremony. The Royal Ploughing Ceremony has always been a magnificent event involving a procession led by the ruling King. The original ceremonies have been preserved today and the original splendor of the Royal Ploughing Ceremony had been carefully maintained.

For the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, the King appoints a Ploughing Lord to carry out the ceremonial rights. The Ploughing Lord them chooses a "panung" which is a cloth worn around the hips. If He chooses a short one, rain will be plentiful. If he chooses a medium length cloth rainfall will be average and the longest cloth denotes little rainfall.

The next part of the Royal Ploughing Ceremony is a procession of bulls adorned with flowers pulling a red and gold plough. Drummers wearing green costumes, umbrella bearers, Brahmans, and celestial maidens then follow. After the bulls have created new furrows they are given seven different foods to eat and drink. Rice, maize, beans, hay, water, liquor, and sesame are presented to the bulls and whichever they eat is believed to be plentiful in the year to come.

The Ploughing Lord then scatters rice seeds over the new furrows to bless the coming year's harvest. After the Royal Ploughing Ceremony ends, many people swarm over the furrows to collect some of the precious rice seeds that were spread. They believe that these rice seeds are the key to a plentiful harvest in the following year.

Last Updated: 27 Feb 2008