Buffalo soldiers battle for supremacy in Chonburi
Chonburi kicked off the rice-planting season on Sunday with a raucous tradition that dates back at least two centuries – buffalo racing.
Wittaya Khunpluem, president of the Chonburi provincial administration organisation, said the races were organised to strengthen relationships between villagers while also educating youngsters about the significance of this local tradition. Buffalos can hit speeds of up to 56 kilometres per hour as they thunder across muddy fields with jockeys either on their backs or dragged behind on flat sleighs.
Most farms use mechanical equipment to plough fields these days, but the buffalo or “kwai” is still prized for its traditional place at the heart of Thai agriculture and rural life.
Buffalos of various sizes were cheered on by crowds of excited spectators during races in the coastal province southeast of Bangkok on Sunday.
Local villagers also competed in traditional foot races while holding coconut palm fronds in their hands to celebrate the bounty of nature.