Thai cave boys to be ordained as novices


Rite of passage: Ekapol (left) and the boys going through the ceremonies in Chiang Rai. — AP

BANGKOK: Eleven boys from a football team, who were rescued from a flooded Thai cave in a drama that gripped global audiences, took their first steps to be ordained as Buddhist novices in a ceremony steeped in tradition.

The occasion was broadcast live on Facebook by local authorities and starts a process whereby the boys will live for nine days in a Buddhist temple – a promise made by their families in thanks for their safe return and in memory of one rescuer who died.

The rescue involved divers and volunteers from all over the world and ended on July 10 when the last of the group was brought to safety from inside Chiang Rai’s Tham Luang Cave in Northern Thailand.

The boys and their 25-year-old coach Ekapol Chanthawong had gone to explore the caves on June 23, where they became trapped.

They survived for nine days on water dripping from rocks before they were discovered on a muddy mound by divers.

“The eleven boys will be ordained as novices, whereas Coach Ek will be ordained as a monk,” Rachapol Ngamgrabuan, an official at Chiang Rai’s provincial press office, told viewers on Facebook. — Reuters

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