The rice cycle, upon which the Thais have long believed their health, wealth, and happiness depends, is governed by the advance and retreat of the monsoon rains. as most people in the kingdom define themselves as chao na, rice farmers, the monsoon could be said to govern the cycle of life. This analogy is seen clearly in many Thai beliefs and practices. The rice goddess must be honored before cultivation if the crop is to be bountiful. The rice grain contains a spirit (kwan) and is planted in the rainy season to become “pregnant.” The Thai word for irrigation (chon prathan) translates as gift of water.
Monsoon” comes from the Arabic mawsim (season). It refers to South Asia’s seasonal winds (not heavy rain). In Thailand, the southwest monsoon is the rainy season; the northeast monsoon is dry, called the cool season; and between these periods is the hot season.
The southwest monsoon comes from the Indian Ocean with rain laden clouds, from about June to October. Most days there are downpours, though Thailand’s east coast is fairly dry.
The northeast monsoon from central Asia usually blows from November to March, bringing relatively cool, dry conditions to Thailand, though rains often affect the east coast
Between the two monsoons the land heats up, creating an area of low pressure above it. Eventually the high pressure over the Indian Ocean moves inland, and the monsoon cycle begins again.
Since most varieties of rice can only propagate in flood conditions, rice seedlings may initially be nurtured in nursery fields, where irrigation can be carefully managed and monitored. Later these seedlings will be transplanted into flooded paddies.