The Royal Ploughing Ceremony

3 May 2018
Royal Palace Garden

Before sowing season, the mythological and revered oxen are called upon to forecast the year's harvest, weather and disease.

  • When? 3rd May 2018
  • Where? Royal Palace Garden, Phnom Penh
  • Price: Free

We can't quite a-COW-nt for how this ceremony works, but it seems to be trusted by the locals. Before the rice growing season begins, farmers flock to Phnom Penh to learn what they can of the harvest ahead. The ceremony is held in the park in front of the National Museum, next to the Royal Palace.

Once the King and Queen have ploughed and sowed a ceremonial plot of land, royal oxen are unhitched from the plough and led to seven gold platters of rice, beans, corn, sesame seeds, grass, water and wine. The oxen's choice of food determines what harvest will be most bountiful, how favourable the rains will be and how probable disease epidemics are. Strange but true. 

The significance of agriculture in Khmer culture is best demonstrated by the greeting, 'nyam bai howie nov?' which literally translates as, 'have you eaten rice yet?' Many Cambodians staunchly believe in the importance of this day and apprehensively await the oxen's choice. Fingers crossed for a w-udder-ful outcome. 

  • Get there: The Royal Palace is in Khan Doun Penh on the Tonle Sap River. Use the bus to get around.
  • Stay: Book accommodation nearby in Khan Doun Penh.

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