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Thai Buffalo Race Kicks Off Rice Cultivation During Monsoon Season

CHONBURI: Thai farmers raced their water buffalo at a muddy annual race on Sunday, 24 July, marking the beginning of a new rice growing period at the start of the monsoon season in a tradition that dates back to the 1800s to give thanks to their beasts of burden.

Locals and tourists flock to the races around the 200-meter-long dirt track in Map Phai sub-district of Chonburi province, some 80 km southeast of the capital, Bangkok.

This year, over 60 buffalo joined the race in what organizers hope to prolong a lost tradition.

"This is the first attempt this year in Map Phai sub-district of Chonburi (province) to revive a tradition that had disappeared for quite some time," said the race's organizer, Pongsathorn Pasomsup. "I personally funded this newly built racetrack and if it's successful, we will be continuing the tradition every year from now on."

The annual race, which sometimes also takes place after the end of the monsoon season, was paused during the coronavirus pandemic but made a return last year.

Most Thai farmers no longer use water buffalo for farming but many are still keen on keeping the animal and conserving the tradition of water buffalo racing.

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