Thai Royalty Readies for Ancient River Procession

This October visitors to Thailand are in for a treat. October 22 will mark the staging of the Royal Kathin Barge Procession on the Chao Phraya, the "River of Kings." This ancient tradition was revived by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1959, and will be held this year in commemoration of his 85th birthday.

The procession, officially known as the Praratcha Phithi Phra Yuha Yatra Cholamak, is reserved only for the most significant cultural and religious events, and has been held only 16 times during the king's reign. Visitors can expect a fleet of 52 traditional-style barges arranged in five columns. This is made up of four major royal barges, as well as 10 additional barges with animal figureheads and 38 smaller vessels.

This year's event has been set up by the Royal Thai Navy. Members of the royal family will present offerings of saffron kathin robes, food and other necessities to the monks at Wat Arun to mark the end of the three-month Buddhist rains' retreat in October.

Eight rehearsals will take place between August 26 and October 7. Two full dress rehearsals are scheduled for October 13 and 18.


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