A Royal Prediction: The Ploughing Ceremony

King Norodom Sihamoni
rice, corn, beans, sesame seeds, water, grass and rice wine
Royal oxen
Royal oxen eating foods
King Meak
Preah Mehour
Preah Mehour
King Meak
Growing rice
Giving water

Our Senior Travel Advisor Sopheak, along with Thyratha (Design & IT) and Vitou (Sales Support) had the opportunity to take part in the Royal Ploughing Ceremony on Tuesday. All are keen photographers, and their photos offer a great glimpse into the splendid ceremony. Sopheak writes below.



Each May, just before the beginning of the sowing and planting season, Cambodians celebrate the traditional Royal Ploughing Ceremony. For hundreds years this has taken place in the royal gardens in front of the King’s Palace in the capital of Phnom Penh; however this year Siem Reap was privileged to host the event.


The ceremony took place in the ancient city of Angkor Thom, in front of the Elephant Terrace, where generations of Cambodian kings reigned a thousand years ago. With great honour, our King Norodom Sihamoni presided at the Elephant Terrace this year. Traditionally a representative of the King of Cambodia, known as the King Meak, ploughs a ceremonial field with a pair of oxen, and the Queen’s representative, the Preah Mehour, follows behind sowing seed.


Afterwards, a pair o11-plowingf Royal oxen are presented with bowls of rice, corn, beans, sesame seeds, water, grass and rice wine. The harvest of the year ahead is predicted by which bowls the oxen choose. Oxen enjoying the rice, corn, beans or sesame seeds are a good omen, predicting bountiful harvest of each—if the oxen choose to focus on the grass, however, a poor harvest can be expected, whilst if they linger over the rice wine, there is the possibility of unrest.



This year, the cows chose to enjoy 95 per cent of the beans, 90 per cent of the corn and 90 per cent of rice, which demonstrates, according to the Royal Astrologer Kang Ken, that agricultural production will be better this year than last in those areas. However, I heard concerned farmers nearby, expressing concern with regards to the water to supply their crops, with the long dry season and poor rains last year. Time will tell!


I hope you enjoy our photos!




ABOUT the Author

Sopheak joined the ABOUTAsia team in 2010, soon after finishing his bachelor’s degree in Business and Tourism Management. Quickly rising to head of the Sales Support department, Sopheak then applied his prodigious skill set to the Travel Advisory desk, where he leverages his passion for the historical sites of Angkor as he crafts memorable journeys. A proud native of Siem Reap, he especially loves the ABOUTAsia Schools programme and its work in the local community. In his spare time, Sopheak indulges his passion for sport, in particular long distance running—always a regular face at the annual Angkor marathons!








ABOUT the Photographers

Vitou has been an integral member of ABOUTAsia’s Sales Support team for years, crafting itineraries and assiduously ensuring that each and every journey has smooth logistics. In his spare time he is a keen photographer who loves to show his world through the long lens of his trusty full-frame Nikon D810










An unsung hero at ABOUTAsia, Thyratha’s handiwork is seen throughout the ABOUTAsia website, both in design and coding. A graphic designer by training, he has in a previous life designed and coded websites for businesses across Cambodia. In his spare time he enjoys 

music, football and travel.

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