BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn on Saturday begins intricate Buddhist and Brahmin ceremonies to symbolically transform him into a living god as the Southeast Asian nation officially crowns its first monarch in nearly seven decades.
The king will be joined by new Queen Suthida after a surprise announcement three days before the coronation that the thrice-divorced monarch had married for a fourth time.
Time - Am - GMT - King - Purification
At the astrologically auspicious time of 10:09 a.m. (03:09 GMT), the king will be dressed in white as he undergoes a royal purification ritual in which consecrated waters will be poured over his head.
King Vajiralongkorn, 66, became constitutional monarch after the death of his revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October 2016 after 70 years on the throne.
Coronation - Period - King - Uncertainty - Election
His coronation, after a period of mourning for the late king, comes amid the uncertainty of an unresolved election battle between the current military junta chief and a “democratic front” trying to push the army out of politics.
Thai kings’ coronation rituals are a mixture of Buddhist and Hindu Brahmin traditions dating back centuries. One of the many official titles King Vajiralongkorn will take is Rama X, or the 10th king of the Chakri dynasty founded in 1782.
Saturday - Rituals - King - Waters - Devaraja
Saturday’s rituals, which will see the king bathed in holy waters and crowned, are about transforming him into a “Devaraja”, or a divine embodiment of the gods.
As the waters start...
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