The cremation ceremonies for the king’s sister, Princess Galyani Vadhana, will take place in Bangkok over a six day period from November 14-19. For the three days from November 14-16, flags in Thailand will be flown at half-mast and many Thai people will be wearing black for this period as a mark of respect. Many will also be wearing the commemorative blue wristbands which are being sold for 100 Baht with proceeds going to charity. There will be an influx of visitors from all over the country as the Thai public come to Bangkok to bid farewell to a much-loved and respected character. This is a hugely significant event and the ceremonies will be watched by millions of Thais on national television. During this time, bars and clubs may temporarily close or finish early and some popular tourist locations will be closed because they feature in the funeral ceremonies (e.g. the Grand Palace).
Princess Galyani lost her battle with cancer and passed away on January 2nd this year aged 84. At most funerals in Thailand the deceased is cremated approximately 3 days after dying. However, for somebody important it is not unusual for there to be a prolonged period between death and cremation and this is actually a show of love and respect for the deceased. Thai Buddhists believe that all of the religious rites and merit-making ceremonies carried out between death and cremation ease the path for the deceased and enables the departed to benefit in the next life.
Thai people were extremely fond of the late Princess who was admired for her charitable works, kind heart and devotion to others. Princess Galyani was a writer, photographer and patron of the arts and music. Her involvement in classical Thai arts has been reflected in the funeral arrangements which will feature traditional Thai entertainment from the likes of the Joe Louis Puppet Theater. There will be a number of different ceremonies in Bangkok on the days before and after the cremation and the main areas involved will be the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaeo, Wat Po and Sanam Luang. Other commemorative events and merit-making ceremonies will take place in regional locations throughout Thailand.