October 23, 2012 00:00 By Panya Thiewsangwan
HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will preside over the Royal Barge Procession for the Royal Kathin Ceremony on behalf of His Majesty the King on November 9, Royal Thai Navy commander-in-chief Admiral Surasak Rounroengrom said yesterday.
The Navy will host a dress rehearsal on November 2. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will observe and be briefed about the preparation, Surasak said.
To celebrate the King’s 85th birthday on December 5, the government assigned the Royal Thai Navy to orchestrate a royal barge procession on the Chao Phraya River for the Kathin Ceremony, a traditional royal Buddhist rite to mark the end of Buddhist Lent.
The Royal Barge Procession for the Royal Kathin Ceremony, the 16th such occasion during His Majesty’s reign, will comprise 52 vessels, including four exquisitely crafted royal barges – the Suphannahong, Narai Songsuban HM Rama IX, Anantanakkharaj and Anekkachatpuchong. There will be eight animal-masthead barges, 22 lesser escort barges and 18 other vessels. A total of 2,311 oarsmen, mostly from the Navy, will take part.
As the procession proceeds from Wasukri landing to Wat Arun, Commander Nattawat Aramkleu will chant a song specially composed for this year’s procession by retired naval Captain Thongyoi Saengsinchai, said Vice Admiral Pojana Puekpong, the Navy’s deputy chief of staff.
The November 2 rehearsal is open to public viewing all along the river from 3 to 4pm.