Thailand's Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. Photo: Reuters / Athit Perawongmetha
Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn lights a candle in a November 29, 2016 photo. Photo: Twitter

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn will formally crown himself as monarch on Saturday (May 4) during an elaborate three-day coronation ceremony steeped in ancient Hindu and Buddhist rituals.

The ceremonies will confirm him as Rama X, the 10th king in the centuries-old Chakri dynasty.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to line Bangkok’s sweltering streets on Sunday (May 5) when Vajiralongkorn is carried on a palanquin followed by officials and a band during a four-mile, post-coronation procession from Bangkok’s Grand Palace.

The king will meet foreign diplomats and government officials on Monday (May 6), which has been declared a public holiday in the kingdom.

The military-led royalist government expects dissidents and politicians to show respect during the coronation’s May 4-6 ceremonies and silence their recriminations over the disputed results of last month’s elections.

In a May 1 surprise, Vajiralongkorn married his consort Suthida Tidjai, a general who commanded his bodyguards, and announced she was now Queen Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya in Thailand’s constitutional monarchy.

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn (L) and Queen Suthida pay their respects at the King Rama V monument in Bangkok, May 2, 2019, ahead of the May 4-6 royal coronation. Photo: AFP/Daily News/Pool

Many of Saturday’s coronation rites, rituals and iconography date back hundreds of years. Others have been recast or invented.

Vajiralongkorn, 66, became king shortly after his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej died aged 88 on October 13, 2016.

Saturday’s coronation will present Vajiralongkorn as a “devaraja,” or divine king, able to protect Buddhism, a religion shared by an estimated 95% of the kingdom’s population.

If no major changes are made, here are the expected key events:

Vajiralongkorn will receive a name plate and seals made of gold brought in a solemn procession from Bangkok’s Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

The slab and seals are etched with Vajiralongkorn’s horoscope, royal name, and the name of Thailand’s Buddhist supreme patriarch, confirming the king has the influential clergy’s support.

Royal astrologers can use the slab’s astrological details to predict activities relating to Vajiralongkorn and his reign.

Thais gather in front of a portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn in Bangkok on May 2, 2019, ahead of the May 4-6 royal coronation. AFP/Lillian Suwanrumpha

During Saturday’s coronation, he will undergo several washing and anointing rites which mix Hinduism’s Brahman and breakaway Buddhist purification traditions.

During one ritual, he will wear a white robe with his right shoulder bare and sit under a device shaped like a lotus that gently showers holy water onto him.

Ablution rites also allow the supreme patriarch, the chief court astrologer, and other officials to pour holy water onto his hands from blessed vases.

Vajiralongkorn will then change into regal attire including a heavy gold embroidered robe and ascend his Octagonal Throne to receive holy water presented by a Brahman priest and various officials.

The water was recently combined from auspicious sites in Thailand. In ancient India, royal Hindu rituals required consecrated water from India’s five holiest rivers, including the Ganges.

Brahmans will then present a royal nine-tiered umbrella to Vajiralongkorn, symbolizing his sovereignty.

Ancient kings often appeared with umbrellas instead of crowns. People believed the umbrellas housed wise spirits who advised any king sitting underneath and also guarded him.

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn (C) and Queen Suthida arrive to pay their respects at the King Rama V monument in Bangkok on May 2, 2019, ahead of the royal coronation which will take place from May 4 to 6. Photo: AFP/Daily News/Pool

Similar umbrellas protected shrines and other religious sites in ancient India, Java and Cambodia, and were later reinforced with wood until transforming into the world’s first pagodas.

Departing his Octagonal Throne, King Vajiralongkorn will then sit on a gilded figwood Noble Throne under his new umbrella.

A Brahman priest representing the Hindu god Shiva will declare the “Opening of Kailash’s portals,” inviting Shiva to enter the king’s body from Mount Kailash.

Mount Kailash in northwest Tibet is said to be Shiva’s mythical Mount Meru home.

The priest then will give the king exquisite royal regalia including the Sword of Victory, Royal Fan and Fly Whisk, Royal Staff, Royal Slippers, and Great Crown of Victory.

These pieces were created mostly from gold during the reign of King Rama I, who began the Chakri dynasty in 1782.

Flowers decorated for coronation-related ceremonies for King Maha Vajiralongkorn at Ratchadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok, May 1, 2019. Photo: AFP/Nurphoto/Anusak Laowilas

Unlike coronations elsewhere in which a monarch is crowned by a religious or other official, Vajiralongkorn will crown himself by lifting the headpiece with both hands and placing it upon his head.

The gem-encrusted crown weighs 16 pounds, rises in circular layers, peaks in an elongated spire and publicly appears only on coronation day.

At the crown’s top is a diamond purchased in India during the mid-19th century, capped by a tiny umbrella sheltering the glistening stone.

The crown’s circular shape symbolizes Mount Meru, indicating the king is enthroned at the center of Hinduism’s and Buddhism’s celestial universe.

He then will speak for the first time during the ceremony as a crowned monarch to gathered Brahman and Buddhist clergy and other witnesses.

He will recite the royal Oath of Allegiance invoking Buddhism’s Tenfold Practice of Ten Duties of Kingship.

Police guard the entrance of the Emerald Buddha temple in the compound of the Grand Palace in Bangkok on May 3, 2019, ahead of Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s May 4-6 coronation. Photo: AFP/Jewel Samad

These duties include generosity, moral behavior, self-sacrifice, honesty, gentleness, austerity, non-violence, tolerance, public welfare, and freedom from hatred.

While nearby Buddhist clergy chant blessings, troops outside the palace will fire a multi-gun salute.

More than 40,000 Buddhist temples throughout Thailand will then ring bells and gongs announcing and blessing the monarch.

He later will appear wearing his crown and sit on his elevated Golden Hibiscus Throne to greet invitees.

Afterwards, he will ride outdoors atop an opulent palanquin carried by more than 300 men in a procession to the Chapel Royal of the Emerald Buddha.

Thai Royal Guard members march outside the Grand Palace, Bangkok, May 3, 2019, ahead of King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s coronation. Photo: AFP/Jewel Samad

Brahman priests, speaking Sanskrit, Pali and Thai, will preside over many of Saturday’s coronation rituals to project a sacred status onto the monarch, who is presented as an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu.

Around 1200 B.C. in India, monarchs began using Hindu regalia to emphasize their godly powers.

In the first kingdom of Thailand – then known as Siam – during the 13th century Sukhothai era, Hindu regalia appeared in the coronation of King Dhammaraja I, who bore the title “maha” or “great,” which King “Maha” Vajiralongkorn has adopted.

Richard S Ehrlich is a Bangkok-based American correspondent reporting from Asia since 1978.

Join the Conversation

1131 Comments

  1. Usually I don’t read article on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, quite nice article.

  2. I like what you guys are up too. Such intelligent work and reporting! Carry on the excellent works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my website :).

  3. You really make it appear really easy together with your presentation however I in finding this matter to be actually one thing which I feel I would by no means understand. It sort of feels too complex and extremely extensive for me. I’m looking ahead to your next submit, I’ll try to get the hold of it!

  4. Good – I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs as well as related information ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, website theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Excellent task.

  5. Hey There. I found your blog the use of msn. This is a really smartly written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn extra of your helpful information. Thank you for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

  6. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

  7. It¦s really a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  8. It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read even more things about it!

  9. Great post. Just a heads up – I am running Ubuntu with the beta of Firefox and the navigation of your blog is kind of broken for me.

  10. Hey, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, excellent blog!

  11. Its like you learn my thoughts! You seem to understand a lot about this, such as you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you just could do with some to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is wonderful blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

  12. Its such as you read my thoughts! You appear to understand so much about this, such as you wrote the e-book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few percent to pressure the message home a little bit, however other than that, this is fantastic blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

  13. No solo nos encargamos de la mantenimiento de electrodomesticos en Madrid ya que trabajamos con cualquier tipo de electrodomestico de gama blanca, Yo la verdad es que sí. Igual la tara puede ser un pequeño golpecito que sencillamente le ha dejado una pequeña señal, pero te garantizas que la vida del electrodoméstico sea la misma, siendo de sgunda mano igual se te rompe a las dos semanas.

  14. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little evaluation on this. And he in truth purchased me breakfast as a result of I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! However yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I really feel strongly about it and love reading extra on this topic. If potential, as you turn into expertise, would you thoughts updating your weblog with more details? It’s highly helpful for me. Huge thumb up for this blog publish!

  15. Good day! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with SEO? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good success. If you know of any please share. Many thanks!

  16. Epígrafe 3.3.- Comercio al por menor fuera de un establecimiento comercial permanente de calzado, pieles y artículos de cuero. Epígrafe 3.4.- Comercio al por menor fuera de un establecimiento comercial permanente de artículos de droguería y cosméticos y de productos químicos en general. Epígrafe 3.9.- Comercio al por menor fuera de un establecimiento comercial permanente de otras clases de mercancías N.C..P. Epígrafe 4.9.- Comercio al por menor de artículos diversos N.C..P. mediante aparatos automáticos, excepto alimentación, bebidas y tabaco. Epígrafe 751.2.- Guarda y custodia de vehículos en los denominados aparcamientos subterráneos parkings.

  17. Hi there, I found your web site by the use of Google even as looking for a related topic, your web site came up, it seems good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  18. whoah this weblog is great i really like studying your articles. Stay up the great work! You already know, lots of persons are looking round for this information, you can aid them greatly.

  19. Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained I’m sure you had fun writing this article.

  20. This is the fitting blog for anyone who wants to seek out out about this topic. You understand so much its nearly onerous to argue with you (not that I really would want…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, just nice!

  21. I have been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or weblog posts on this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this site. Reading this information So i’m satisfied to express that I’ve an incredibly excellent uncanny feeling I came upon just what I needed. I so much undoubtedly will make sure to don’t forget this site and provides it a glance regularly.

  22. La cuestión es que la heladera deja de enfriar luego de un tiempo, es decir, al ver que la heladera no enfría la desenchufo por un rato (20 minutos), luego la enchufo de nuevo la dejo cerrada por horas y enfría sin problemas durante al menos un día entero (de hecho hasta se congelan gotas de humedad en la pared trasera del lado de adentro de la heladera).

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *