National Holiday on Thursday Marks the Cremation of King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Thursday the 26 October will see cremation rites conducted in Bangkok for the late king of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej. The Thai government has declared the day a national holiday so that people are free to attend the main ceremony in Bangkok, or ceremonies due to be staged in each of the country’s provinces, if they wish to.

The rites in Bangkok actually begin the evening before at 17:30 with a merit-making ceremony in the Dusit Maha Prasad Throne Hall at the Grand Palace. At 07:00 on the morning of the twenty-sixth, the royal casket will be moved from the Throne Hall to a specially built crematorium at Sanam Luang Park. The funeral rights are scheduled to begin at 17:30 and the cremation itself at 22:00.

In keeping with Thai royal tradition, music, dance and puppet shows will start at 18:00 and continue until 06:00 the next morning. On the 28 and 29 October, merit making ceremonies for King Bhumibol’s remains will be staged in the Dusit Maha Prasad Hall. The remains will then be enshrined in Chakri Maha Prasat Hall and two Bangkok temples, Wat Bovoranives and Wat Ratchabophit. Parades on each of the days will herald the movement of the king’s body and its remains.

King Bhumibol was the ninth Chakri Dynasty monarch and was also known as King Rama IX. The King Rama IX website has a detailed timetable of the proceedings for the royal cremation. Each of the 76 provinces in Thailand is building replicas of the Sanam Luang funeral pyre and will hold services in honour of King Bhumibol. In Chiang Mai, the rites will be held at the International Convention and Exhibition Centre.