Sacred Water Sources Sought for Coronation Rituals

A file photo of King Vajiralongkorn.

BANGKOK — More than 100 water sources throughout Thailand are being evaluated for use in the royal coronation, the government said Tuesday.

Officials are visiting 107 rivers, streams and rivulets to see which are most ideal for drawing holy water to be used in rituals set to take place in May.

In accordance with longstanding traditions, the sacred water will be used to anoint King Vajiralongkorn as the new monarch when the ceremony commences May 4.

When King Bhumibol, the late father of the current monarch, was crowned in 1950, his holy water was drawn from from 18 sources in 18 different provinces.

A priest pours sacred water on King Bhumibol’s hand at his coronation in May 1950.

Although King Vajiralongkorn ascended the throne in December following his father’s death two months earlier, he is not considered a formal monarch under Thai tradition until he is crowned in elaborate rituals which date back to the 13th century.

The national Buddhist authority announced last week that a bud from a sacred Bodhi tree in Sri Lanka will be brought to Ayutthaya on Feb. 19 and grown there to celebrate the coronation.

The Bodhi tree in question is believed to be descended from one planted about 2,000 years ago by the famed Buddhist king Ashoka the Great.