Here’s what we learned: It is called Phraraj Pithi Jarod Phranangkal Raek Na Kwan or Royal Ploughing Ceremony. A parade of people and two oxen sowed the sacred ground of the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
Trailing the ceremonial contingent were the Nang Thepis (consecrated women) who were carrying silver and gold baskets full of rice and flowers. Once the oxen had plowed the area the Phraya Raek Na (Lord of the Festival) takes handfuls of this rice and spreads it on the ground.
After the oxen did their job, it is tradition that they be presented a plate of food from which to select: rice seed, maize, green beans, sesame seed, fresh cut grass, water, and rice liquor. Apparently, what the oxen choose predicts which crops will be plentiful during the growing season. Today the oxen chose the fresh cut grass meaning that there will be abundant food and average water. (Seems kind of impossible with all the rain we’ve been getting, but who are we to argue with oxen!)
The very end of the ceremony is marked by the Lord of the Festival (from what we can understand) pays his respects to the Crown Prince of Thailand:
Once the Prince leaves however…
…chaos ensues as spectators storm the field to snatch up the sacred rice grain to take home and mix with their rice seed for planting or to hold as a keepsake. The hallowed ground started like this…
…but within seconds, this is what it looked like:
We look forward to partaking in the “abundant food” that is coming. Hopefully, this includes fruit as we are definitely eating more than our share of the country’s supply. 😉