04/26/2017, 12.54
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Date for King Bhumibol’s cremation set for one year after his death

26 October will be a national holiday. The five-day funeral ritual will start on 25 October followed by King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s coronation. A huge cremation complex is going up outside Bangkok’s Grand Palace.

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) –  Thailand’s military junta announced yesterday that the cremation of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej will take place on 26 October 2017, just over a year after his death.

Government spokesman Lieutenant General Sansern Kaewkumnerd said that five days of funerary rites would begin on 25 October with the cremation on the second evening, which will be declared a public holiday.

King Bhumibol, 88, was the longest reigning monarch in the world. Although ill for years, his passing still left many Thais bereft.

Since his death on 13 October 2016, the country has been in deep mourning with mass public display of sorrow. Many Thai have taken to wearing monochrome black or white clothing for the duration of mourning period.

Very popular with ordinary Thais, he was the symbol of national unity and a protector of all religions.

A huge cremation complex is being constructed on a parade ground specially reserved for royal funerals outside the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

The complex will include towering pavilions and hundreds of statues of gods and mythical beasts, representing Mount Meru – the allegorical centre of the universe in Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cosmology and where Thais believe Bhumibol’s spirit will return.

Bhumibol’s successor, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, is expected to hold his own coronation soon after the cremation.

On 6 April, the new monarch signed the new Thai constitution. With the new charter, which favours the military junta, King Maha Vajiralongkorn reformed the royal institution and consolidated its constitutional prerogatives.

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