The Royal Ploughing Ceremony is a unique event that is celebrated to predict future farming conditions, epidemics and weather patterns with regard to farming. Usually celebrated during the month of May in Phnom Penh, this tradition is held at the start of the rice growing season and is also organized to pray for a good harvest. Many Cambodians believe in the traditional rituals and predictions that are given out during the ceremony as a true indication of what the future holds for their harvest and crop productions.
The event lies deeply embedded in the Khmer history and traditions, making it an interesting and special procession to witness. It was first initiated many decades ago by a Khmer king. On the first day of the ceremony, the Brahmans begin feasting at the 5 decorated and colorful canopies that are set up at different compass points. At the end of this feasting, it is the King who initiates the ploughing as an indication for the people to enjoy a favorable year of farming. The procession is led out by traditional and rhythmic music known as Bot Kim.
A highlight of the event that visitors will definitely enjoy watching is when a pair of sacred oxen is brought out to lead in the predictions of what the year holds for farming. The oxen first plough the ceremonial ground into which the Brahmins sow seed. Afterwards, the sacred oxen are then led to a place where plates of rice, corn, soy beans, sesame, fresh-cut grass, water and wine are offered to them. Depending upon what they bountifully eat, prefer, sniff and refuse, the predictions are made by the Brahmans for the farming year to come.