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The Royal Coronation Ceremony

Words: Wineenart Phanvut
Photographs: Special Thanks To The Ministry Of Culture
Apr 12, 2019

The Royal Coronation Ceremony

Word: Wineenart Phanvut
Photographs: Special Thanks To The Ministry Of Culture
Apr 12, 2019

Since ancient times in the kingdom of Thailand, Thai kings have served as head of state. The institution of the monarchy is regarded as the spiritual centre and a symbol of the Thai nation. According to ancient royal traditions, The royal Coronation Ceremony is a traditional. Practice performed to complete the procedure of the enthronement of each king of Thailand.
 

The year 2019 will go down in Thai history as one of the nation’s most auspicious occasions, as it marks the Royal Coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun. His Majesty the King deems it appropriate for the Royal Coronation Ceremony to be conducted on 4 – 6 May 2019 for the auspiciousness of the country, in accordance with ancient Thai traditions since the Ayutthaya period.

In the Rattanakosin period, the Royal Coronation Ceremony was performed when King Rama I acceded to the throne in 1782. At that time, the King collected records of the coronation ceremony and created the Royal Regalia, the Royal Nine-tiered Umbrella of State, the Royal Utensils, and the Weapons of Sovereignty. With all these ceremonial objects, the King then commanded that the Royal Coronation Ceremony be performed to complete the procedure of his enthronement.

The Royal Coronation Ceremony His Majesty King Mongkut (Rama IV) May 15, 1851

Historical evidence shows that the Purification Ceremony is an important part of the Royal Coronation Ceremony, focusing on the action of pouring holy water over the King. This holy water is called the “Muratha Bhisek Water.” In the past, after the Purification Ceremony, the King was presented with the Anointment Water, known as “Abhisek Water,” by the Chief Brahmin. In a tradition influenced by Brahmanism, the monarch is believed to be a divine king, who comes to this world to relieve the hardships of the people and bring them happiness.

The Royal Coronation Ceremony His Majesty King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) November 16, 1873

The Royal Coronation Ceremony has been upheld through the ages, but the sequence and details have been adapted as appropriate within the context of each period. For example, during the reign of King Mongkut (Rama IV), who promoted good relations with countries in Europe, the King adopted the crowning ceremony from the European court, as part of his coronation.

The Royal Coronation Ceremony His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej Borommanathbobitra (Rama IX) May 5, 1950

In the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), the scale of the Royal Coronation Ceremony was reduced to some extent. The ceremony took place for three days, from 3 – 5 May 1950. Thai people have always remembered the Oath of Accession pronounced by the King at the Royal Coronation Ceremony: “We shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people.”

Since King Rama I established Bangkok as the royal capital, the Royal Coronation Ceremony has been performed 11 times as follows:

King Rama I (twice)

King Rama II (once)

King Rama III (once)

King Rama IV (once)

King Rama V (twice)

King Rama VI (twice)

King Rama VII (once)

King Rama IX (once)

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej Borommanathbobitra (Rama IX) 

The Coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun (Rama X) will be the 12th Royal Coronation Ceremony in the Rattanakosin period.

The Royal Coronation Ceremony in the Rattankosin period is divided into five major stages:

The first stage involves the gathering of water to be blessed and used as the sacred water in the Purification and Anointment Ceremonies, as well as religious ceremonies. The water is collected from different water sources of importance in the Kingdom and is consecrated at major pagodas and temples in respective areas.

The important water sources are as follows:

Pa Sak River in Tha Rap subdistrict, Saraburi. The water from this river was taken for consecration at Phra Phutthabat, which is the Great Chedi (Maha Chedi Sathan), located in one of the precincts of Lawo and Ayutthaya kingdoms.

Thale Kaeo and Sa Kaeo in Phitsanulok. The waters from these sources were taken to be consecrated at the Vihara of Phra Buddha Chinnarat, Wat Phra Si Maha That, Phitsanulok province. This Buddhist structure is recognised as the Great Pagoda of the ancient northern capital.

Nam Chok Chomphu, Nam Bo Kaeo, and Nam Bo Thong in Sawankhalok. The water from these sources were taken for a consecration rite at Wat Phra Mahathat, the Great Pagoda (presently located in Sukhothai province) during the reign of King Phra Ruang.

Nakhon Chai Si River in Bang Kaeo Subdistrict, Nakhon Pathom. The water from this river was taken for consecration at the Great Pagoda (Phra Pathom Chedi) in Nakhon Chai Si. This Great Pagoda has served as Maha Chedi Sathan since the Dvaravati period.

The ponds at Wat Na Phra Lan, Wat Sema Chai, Wat Sema Mueang, and Wat Pratu Khao, the stream at Khao Maha Chai, and the Pak Nakkharat pond in Nakhon Si Thammarat. The water from these sources were taken for a consecration rite at Wat Phra Mahathat, the Great Pagoda in the ancient Nakhon Si Thammarat capital.

Bo Thip in Lamphun. The water from this pond was taken for a consecration rite at Wat Phra Mahathat Hariphunchai, which is recognised as the Great Pagoda in ancient northern capitals, namely Nakhon Hariphunchai, Nakhon Khelang, Nakhon Chiang Saen, Nakhon Chiang Rai, Nakhon Phayao, and Nakhon Chiang Mai.

The pond at Wat That Phanom. The water from this pond was taken to be consecrated at Phra That Phanom in Nakhon Phanom, Udon Precinct. Phra That Phanom is recognized as the Great Pagoda, located in the ancient capital of Khot Bun Luang.

The second stage is the process of making an inscription on the Royal Golden Plaque, with the official title of the ruling King, and the Royal Golden Plaque of the King’s horoscope.

The third stage is called the Purification Ceremony, referring to the action of pouring holy water (Muratha Bhisek) over the head of the King. According to Brahmanism, before the beginning of any other ritual procedures of the coronation ceremony, the person must be purified through the Ablution.

The fourth stage involves the ceremony for the presentation of the Royal Throne to the King.

The fifth stage involves the ceremony for the presentation of the royal horoscope and the official title of the King. The Chief Brahmin also presents the Five Royal Regalia, symbolising the full royal authorities of the King. After receiving the Royal Regalia, the newly-crowned King presents the first Royal Command.

The Royal Coronation Ceremony is a sacred event that marks an auspicious occasion for the country and the Thai people, who are eagerly looking forward to it with joy and the highest honours bestowed in accordance with royal traditions

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