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Sacred Thai cows predict abundant harvest

Thu May 10, 2:07 AM ET

Sacred Thai oxen nibbled on rice, maize and grass in an ancient fortunetelling ceremony Thursday, which royal soothsayers said predicted a bountiful harvest this year.

The cattle, draped in ornate mantles, ploughed a small section of a field near the Grand Palace in Bangkok, in a ceremony presided over by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.

The oxen were then offered bowls of seven types of food or drink — whisky, grass, sesame seeds, beans, rice, maize and water. Soothsayers then forecast the upcoming season depending on what the animals eat or drink.

“There will be sufficient water, so we will have an abundant harvest of rice. The sacred oxen chose to eat paddy rice, maize and grass, so they predict plentiful food crops,” one of the government’s top farm officials, Soraphol Tharapat, reported to the prince during the ceremony.

Thailand is currently the world’s largest rice exporter and is expected to export 8.5 million tonnes of rice this year.

The royal ceremony is designed to raise farmers’ morale at the beginning of the planting season and has been a tradition for more than 700 years.

Copyright May 10, 2007, Agence France Presse

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