ASIA/THAILAND - Preparations for the funeral of 'the Greatest King of Siamese History'

Wednesday, 4 October 2017 local churches   politics   civil society  


Bangkok (Agenzia Fides) - Over 500 officers of the Thai Navy have participated in the preparations for the Royal Cremation of the revered late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died last October at the age of 88. The funeral will be held (after almost a year) on October 26 in Bangkok and will include five days of sacred rituals. In order to honor the dead sovereign, a structure for the cremation was built outside the royal palace, which includes pavilions and statues depicting divinities. The successor, his son Maha Vajiralongkorn, will be crowned soon after the religious function.
"After a year of preparations, Thailand is organizing itself to live the last stage to witness the king's farewell in a ceremony the likes of which has not been seen for generations. The King, the ninth of his dynasty, died on October 13, 2016", writes to Fides don Attilio De Battisti, fidei donum priest engaged in the Country. "Million of Thais from around the country have paid their respects in person to their late King, who reigned for over 70 years, at the Grand Palace. On September 30th, the visits to the Palace that housed his remains were closed, in order to begin the concluding stages of the funeral", continues Don Attilio. "Security has been stepped up and full-scale security measures will be implemented for the funeral rites. Many observers expect millions of mourners to gather around Sanam Luang - the grounds for the cremation pyre - to witness the king's farewell.The photos that are already circulating show the massiveness and elegance of the structure, and once again show the world the soul and culture of this Country. All social classes, businesses, churches and state and private educational agencies are competing to organize ceremonies in synchrony with the national one, which will surely see millions of mourners despite some alarming voices on possible "disruptive acts". The Catholic Church has already issued provisions for celebrations throughout the month of October. Protestant Churches likewise have proposed a series of attentions to their faithful. Administrative offices are carrying out regular meetings to specify the details of events organized in individual districts. National television channels, newspapers and all media have started broadcasting in black and white (just like the first period after the death of the monarch). People are beginning to dress in black, and in public occasions black is a must. Along the streets, in front of all important buildings (schools, universities, temples, administrative buildings, malls and banks) images of the King are being shown and are inviting citizens to plant and to use yellow flowers everywhere. Yellow is the color of the day when Rama 9 was born. The date of the deceased King’s birthday, December 5, has now been declared the King's National Day. The military had been assigned the task to maintain secrurity. It is worth remembering that the law of Thais lese majesty is one of the stricktest on the planet", adds the priest.
"No doubt this month, Thailand will show the world the massiveness of its culture and art and a reign worthy of much respect, for wisdom, dedication, prudence and authority. King Bhumibol Adulyadej will be called 'the Greatest King of Siamese History'. And as far as I know, this title is more than deserved", concludes Don Attilio. (AdB/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 4/10/2017)