A pair of royal oxen sidled up to the annual plowing ceremony’s seven-course banquet on Tuesday and ate most of the rice, corn and pulses served to them on gold platters, pleasing the crowd of hundreds with a good omen for the coming harvests.
Royal Palace astrologer Kang Ken said that the oxen’s appetite for the rice was a good sign, and that the half-eaten bowl of grass and untouched sesame, water and wine did not worry him.
Royal Brahmin Nou Vann, 83, said that if the oxen were to drink the water, it could mean good rain, but it could also mean flooding. It is also commonly believed that if the oxen drink the wine it can be a harbinger of conflict.
King Norodom Sihamoni presided over the ceremony, which was also attended by National Assembly and Senate presidents Heng Samrin and Chea Sim. Prime Minister Hun Sen was scheduled to attend but did not show up for the event, which was held in the Veal Men Park in front of the National Museum.
National Assembly Second Vice President You Hockry led the oxen on a ceremonial walk while his wife dropped seeds in the symbolic furrow carved out by the oxen.