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Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Wat Plai Laem, Royally sponsored cremation ceremony of Prakru Suntinonthakhun, the day time ceremony

Wat Plai Laem, Royally sponsored cremation ceremony of Prakru Suntinonthakhun, the day time ceremony

Today was the big day for the Royally sponsored cremation of Prakru Suntinonthakhun at Wat Plai Laem and this afternoon saw the day time ceremony for which half the island come to look and participate.

After carefully checking around it turned out that around 14.00 or 2pm the official ceremony was to start and being experienced by now in chanting and praying marathons, I promptly showed up at 13.55 and for once the ceremony followed a strict time schedule, surprise surprise!

The official site in full function

There were plenty of local hi'so's and a big flock of monks plus loads and loads of 'normal' people who didn't want to miss out on this ceremony and obviously had either nothing better to do or weren't working. Like myself ;-) I know of plenty people who almost went every night for prayers for the last couple of nights/week.
It was an impressive display though and the nice thing about these kinds of events is that you're more or less allowed to move freely around as long as you don't interfere with protocol so I could get a nice position to take some good shots.

Setting it alight!

At some stage two important looking guys in a white uniform where starting a ceremonial fire for the cremation, as pictured above.
The real cremation was set at 8pm later in the evening, see a report here.

Rows of monks pay their respect

After the monks the local officials pay their respect

The local people paying their respect

It was really busy and interesting to experience. At some stage there were loud bangs which initially made me think that somehow related to the bangs loads of birds were freed. Turned out that the bangs were day light fireworks and the bangs scared all the birds that are living under the temples various roofs!

One nice thing that happened was that Joe, as it turned out, a long term follower of my blog, recognized me and came by to have a chat about my blog. Thanks for following my blog Joe! It's great to meet some of my readers in real life.

Anyway, it was really interesting and I couldn't wait for the real event later in the evening when Prakru Suntinonthakhun's body would be cremated.

Camille

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