Royal Plowing Ceremony in Cambodia

The Royal Plowing Ceremony, known as "Pithi Chrat Preah Neanng Korl" in the Khmer language, is a significant cultural and traditional event in Cambodia. The ceremony is held annually to celebrate the start of the rice planting season, marking the beginning of the monsoon season in the country. The date of the event is determined by the lunar calendar and usually falls in May.


The Royal Plowing Ceremony has its origins in ancient Cambodia and has been celebrated for centuries. The tradition dates back to the Angkor period, around the 9th century, when Cambodia was an agrarian society reliant on rice farming. The ceremony was believed to bring good fortune and abundant harvests to the kingdom. Kings and high-ranking officials would participate in the ceremony to show their support and encouragement for the farmers and to ensure the success of the rice crop.


National customs for the Royal Plowing Ceremony in Cambodia

The Royal Plowing Ceremony in Cambodia is a grand event, with the King or a high-ranking representative presiding over the ceremony. The event begins with a colorful procession of royal oxen, sacred cows, and traditional musicians, all dressed in elaborate costumes. The procession makes its way to a designated field near the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, where the main ceremony takes place.

During the ceremony, the King or his representative plows the first furrow in the field using a wooden plow, while sacred cows are led behind him to tread the freshly plowed earth. The cows are then offered different types of food, including rice, corn, beans, sesame, and fresh-cut grass. Based on the cows' choices of food, predictions are made regarding the success of the rice crop and the weather conditions for the coming year. The ceremony concludes with prayers and blessings for a bountiful harvest.

Local customs for the Royal Plowing Ceremony in Cambodia

In addition to the main ceremony held in Phnom Penh, the Royal Plowing Ceremony is also celebrated in various local communities across Cambodia. Local farmers and villagers gather to participate in their own plowing ceremonies, often led by a respected elder or village chief. The local ceremonies may feature traditional music, dance performances, and offerings to the spirits for a successful harvest.

In some areas, farmers may also engage in friendly plowing competitions to showcase their skills and to promote camaraderie among the community members. These local celebrations not only pay homage to the ancient tradition but also serve to strengthen the bonds within the community and encourage cooperation and support during the rice planting season.


The Royal Plowing Ceremony in Cambodia is a vibrant and meaningful event that honors the country's agricultural heritage and ushers in the rice planting season. Rooted in ancient customs and beliefs, the ceremony serves as a reminder of the importance of agriculture in Cambodia's history and culture. It also fosters unity and cooperation among the people, as they come together to celebrate and pray for a successful and bountiful harvest.