BANGKOK – Thais joined a merit-making ceremony at Siriraj Hospital on Friday to mark the first anniversary of the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Siriraj Hospital held the religious event with 199 Buddhist monks receiving alms from around 10,000 people, according to an epa photographer.
During the ceremony, 89 seconds of silence were observed in commemoration of the late King who had spent the last years of his life at the hospital where he died at the age of 88 on Oct. 13, 2016 after suffering a lengthy illness.
Many of the participants appeared grieving, holding the late King’s images in their hands.
Meanwhile, thousands of people also gathered to lay garlands in front of the late King’s image at the gate of the Grand Palace, following the conclusion of the mourning visits on Oct. 5 that had seen over 12 million people paying tribute to the King’s body lying in state in the Throne Hall since late 2016.
The first anniversary of the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, or King Rama IX, was also observed with flags lowered to half-staff and most establishments closed to the public nationwide.
King Rama IX’s royal cremation ceremony will be held on Oct. 26, during which thousands of armed forces personnel will join a funeral procession and pull the royal chariots to the Sanam Luang royal ground, where the royal crematorium has been constructed.
The royal religious ceremonies will begin a day earlier on Oct. 25 and will last until Oct. 29.
The royal cremation ceremony is expected to be followed by the coronation of King Vajiralongkorn, although the official date has yet to be announced.
After the passing of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, formally known as Rama X, asked for time to mourn before succeeding to the throne of Thailand on Dec. 1.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-reigning monarch who was on the throne for seven decades, was until his death the only monarch ever known to most Thais and was revered by his people.