A Grand Farewell Fit for a Great Thai King

Friday December 1, 2017

Last year, the whole Kingdom of Thailand mourned the passing of their most beloved and longest reigning monarch, King Rama 9 (also known as His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej). Last October, King Bhumibol was finally sent to his final rest with a spectacular 5-day funeral ceremony, fit for a great king. Royalties and dignitaries from around the world, including Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano came to the kingdom to pay their last respects to the king. In Thailand, when members of the royal family pass away, they are given magnificent funerals that last for a few months, sometimes up to over a year. The royal funeral, a tradition which dates back to the 17th century Ayutthaya period, is a combination of Buddhism and Hinduism. It is a major public event that includes intricate, meticulous, and a well detailed, specially designed crematorium and beautifully crafted funeral processions that lead to a final cremation ceremony. The Thai king who passes away gets his own unique crematorium design and King Bhumibol’s was drafted within 24 hours after his death. His Majesty King Bhumibol’s crematorium depicted the Phra Sumera Mountain, which according to Hinduism, is the location of the highest heaven on earth. It is also the tallest crematorium (measured 50m high and 70m wide) since King Rama 5 or King Chulalongkorn’s funeral in 1911. It showcased more than 600 individual sculptures, from mythical beasts to angels and gods. The “Phra Narai” statue was sculpted to resemble the king and each direction of the crematorium is watched over by a sacred animal – tigers to the east; elephants to the north, cows to the south, and, horses to the west. At the center of the crematorium, the royal urn and coffin are made...... Read more on Full Issue!

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