Rural Thai Funeral

I’d like to start this post in stating that like all things Thai, the ceremonies and activities at a funeral will vary by region, status of the deceased and other factors. So this is not an all inclusive discussion, rather a documentation of one funeral in particular. The funeral I will talk about in this post was a relative of my Thai wife, who I knew very well, and so I attended all of the events, except the body washing on the first afternoon, making photos for the family and friends. Because of this I was able to observe everything that happened close up and personal.
My wife’s uncle Sawai died on July 5th, and funeral rites were held until the afternoon of July 10th, 2017. The length of Sawai’s funeral rites were not long by Thai standards, but by American standards quite long indeed. In the afternoon of the first day Sawai’s body was brought from the hospital to the local temple. After a washing ceremony the body was placed in a casket, which in turn was placed in a ceremonial outer casket, and put in the temple on a high table surrounded by floral arrangements. Chanting sessions were held each evening for 3 days with monks in the lead, and on the 4th day a larger ceremony was held for the cremation that took place at 3:00 PM. The numbers grew each day with few in attendance the first evening and over 100 attending the cremation held on July 9th. On July 10th a small group of family members attended a ceremony to remove and clean the bones from the cremation chamber. At a later date the bones will be placed in the family burial stupa on the temple grounds.

Family members present monks with gifts of gratitude for presiding over a ceremony, and offering prayers for the departed. Nakhon Nayok, Thailand July 05, 2016. (Lee Craker/Lee Craker, Photographer)

Family members present monks with gifts of gratitude for presiding over a ceremony, and offering prayers for the departed. Nakhon Nayok, Thailand July 05, 2016.

A Memorial Service in Nakhon Nayok, Thailand (Lee Craker/Lee Craker, Photographer)

A Memorial Service for Sawai, in Nakhon Nayok, Thailand.

The departed man's brother pays his respects during the 2nd day of the funeral services in Nakhon Nayok, Thailand, July 07, 2017. (Lee Craker/Lee Craker, Photographer)

Sawai’s brother pays his respects during the 2nd day of the funeral services in Nakhon Nayok, Thailand, July 07, 2017.

The crematorium, Nakhon Nayok, Thailand. (Lee Craker/Lee Craker, Photographer)

The crematorium, Nakhon Nayok, Thailand.

The cremation begins in Nakhon Nayok, Thailand. (Lee Craker/Lee Craker, Photographer)

The cremation begins in Nakhon Nayok, Thailand.

Monks and officials pray during a cremation in Nakhon Nayok, Thailand, July 08, 2017. (Lee Craker/Lee Craker, Photographer)

Monks and officials pray during a cremation in Nakhon Nayok, Thailand, July 08, 2017.

After a cremation, a Thai family sorts through the ashes to find the bones of a departed relative so they can be put in an urn and placed in the family burial stupa. Nakhon Nayok, Thailand. July 10, 2017. (Lee Craker/Lee Craker, Photographer)

After a cremation, a Thai family sorts through the ashes to find the bones of a departed relative so they can be put in an urn and placed in the family burial stupa. Nakhon Nayok, Thailand. July 10, 2017.

My entire gallery for the funeral may be viewed on my website: Here

 

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