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October cremation date for Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Five days of elaborate ceremonies announced for final week

BANGKOK -- The cremation ceremonies for King Bhumibol Adulyadej will take place on schedule from Oct. 25-29, a little more than one year after the revered monarch's death last Oct. 13.

The cabinet confirmed the dates at its regular Tuesday morning meeting, Government Spokesperson Sansern Kaewkamnerd told reporters.

During the five-day period, the king's body will be moved on an ornate ancient hearse from the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall, where it has been lying in state, to a specially constructed crematorium, the Phra Merumas, in front of the 18th-century Grand Palace. The open expanse of ground normally known as Sanam Luang is referred to by its ancient name, the Pramane Ground, for the duration of royal cremations.

Following merit-making rituals on Oct. 25, the cremation itself will take place on Oct. 26, which will be declared a public holiday. Officials expect many people to attend from all parts of the kingdom.

The late king's remains will be gathered on Oct. 27, and further rituals will be conducted over the following days.

On Oct. 29, King Bhumibol's ashes will be taken to two temples near the Grand Palace -- Wat Ratchabophit, where ashes of two previous kings are also kept, and Wat Bovornives, where the late king spent 15 days in the monkhood in 1956. Other relics will be placed in an ossuary in the Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall in the Grand Palace.

The ninth king in the Chakri dynasty founded in Siam in 1782, King Bhumibol's reign lasted over 70 years. He was widely revered, and his birthday on Dec. 5 was celebrated as Father's Day in Thailand. In the six months since his death, over six million people have visited the Grand Palace to pay their respects, often waiting many hours in long queues and high heat.

The coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, King Bhumibol's successor and only son, will follow the cremation, but the date has yet to be announced.

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