Inside Asia Tours: Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos
Royal Ploughing Festival

Royal Ploughing Festival

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony, or 'Bon Chroat Preah Nongkoal' in Khmer, is celebrated at the beginning of the annual rice sowing and planting season.

If you travel to Phnom Penh in May, you'll witness the changing of the seasons as the dry season comes to an end and the rains start to begin. This marks the moment when farmers can start sowing their rice fields.

This important event in the agricultural cycle is commemorated in a special ceremony led by the Cambodian royal family. Taking place in front of the National Museum of Phnom Penh, three ploughs pulled by sacred oxen are guided by members of the royal family. Sometimes the king himself takes part.

Afterwards the oxen are led to barrels filled with rice, sesame, corn, soybeans, grass, water and wine. Spectators watch carefully to see which barrels the oxen choose to feed from. If they eat the crops, it signifies a bountiful harvest to come. If they choose grass, the belief is that there'll be an increase in disease. Water signifies widespread flooding. Wine is the unluckiest of all, meaning conflict and possibly war in Cambodia.

When to go: In 2017 the ceremony will take place on Saturday 13th May.

Royal Ploughing Festival

located in Phnom Penh

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