Wordtravels

Wordtravels

Chat Preah Nengkal

Chat Preah Nengkal, the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, is an ancient Cambodian agricultural rite that takes place in front of the National Museum, near the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. The ceremony is held in early May each year and all banks, ministries and embassies are closed during the event. Cambodians have a number of traditional rituals for forecasting the weather and determining whether harvests will be fruitful. Chat Preah Nengkal is the ancient royal rite marking the start of the rice-growing season. In the ritual sacred oxen plough a patch of ceremonial ground so that Brahmins can sow some rice seed. Once the job is done the sacred animals are offered a selection of food, including rice, beans, grass and rice whisky, and the royal soothsayers make predictions for the harvest based on the appetites and food selection of the oxen. Although the Royal Ploughing Ceremony may not be as festive or exciting as some other Cambodian festivals it is interesting to see this ancient ritual practiced and if you are in Phnom Penh at the time it takes place it is well worth taking part in the event and celebrations. Before the ritual is performed there is an impressive ceremonial procession.

Venue: In front of the National Museum, near the Royal Palace.

Date: 28 May 20134