More than 10,000 people are expected to take part in today’s Royal Ploughing Ceremony to be held on a football field in Takeo province’s Daun Keo city.
Last week, the National Committee for Organising National and International Festivals announced that provincial Governor Ouch Phea and his wife Srey Punnadavy will play the roles of “King Meak” and “Queen Mehour” during a traditional performance for the event.
Mr Phea, who will lead a team of royal oxen to plough the field as King Meak, yesterday said he felt honoured that King Norodom Sihamoni had selected his province to stage this year’s event.
Ms Punnadavy as Queen Mehour will follow her husband and scatter seed as he ploughs the field.
“We are so happy and greatly honoured that the King decided to choose our province to celebrate the Royal Ploughing Ceremony tomorrow,” Mr Phea said. “This year is the second time, after 1969, that the Takeo province was chosen to stage the ceremony.”
“It is not only an honour for me as the governor, but for all the people in the province,” he added.
Mr Phea said King Sihamoni will preside over the ceremony at the Kirivong Sok Sen Chey stadium’s football field in Daun Keo city.
“About 10,000 people are expected to participate in the event,” he noted.
Mr Phea and his wife together with provincial officials, including armed forces personnel, and students gathered yesterday at the field for a dress rehearsal for today’s ceremony.
The ceremony is a traditional royal rite usually held in May, which marks the beginning of the rice-growing season. It is the time of the year when the dry season ends and the rainy season begins, leading Cambodian farmers to start planting their crops.
During the ceremony, the oxen are given with a variety of food, water and rice wine, believing they can predict events, including good harvests, epidemics, excessive rainfall or violent crimes, by observing what the animals choose to eat and drink.
For example, if the oxen choose to drink water instead of wine it will signify a good harvest year.
Mr Phea yesterday also urged all armed forces and police officers to ensure public safety and security during the event.
The provincial police, military police, National Bodyguard Unit and relevant officials yesterday held a meeting on the celebration and checked the stadium to ensure that security arrangements were being carried out as planned.
Last year, the Royal Ploughing Ceremony was held in Svay Rieng province’s Svay Rieng city.