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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cambodia observes ancient ploughing rite

PHNOM PENH, May 20, 2011 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Cambodia on Saturday held the ancient royal ploughing ceremony to mark the annual beginning of rice growing season.

The rite, held at the Meru field near the Royal Palace, was presided over by King Norodom Sihamoni and participated by President of the National Assembly Heng Samrin, diplomatic corps, officials, farmers, students and thousands of onlookers.

At this year's event, the King designated Say Chhum, the second vice-president of the National Assembly, as the king of the ploughing ceremony, and Keo Chan Mony, assemblywoman, as the queen of sowing ceremony.

Traditionally, the designated king ploughs the rice field by using royal oxen and the appointed queen sows seeds on the furrow as the symbol of planting.

After the ploughing, the oxen are offered plates of food, including rice, corn, green beans, sesame, fresh-cut grass, water and wine.

Depending on what the oxen eat, a court soothsayer makes a superstition-based prediction on whether the coming growing season will be bountiful or not.

Meanwhile, the oxen ate only corn, green bean and grass.

The soothsayer predicted that this year corn and green bean crops will yield well and average respectively, while there will be the spread of cattle disease as the oxen ate grass.
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