BANGKOK (AP) — Thais marked one year since the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej with formal ceremonies and acts of personal devotion Friday before an elaborate five-day funeral later this month.
Official commemorations of Bhumibol were organized at Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital, where he died, and at Government House and the ornate royal palace.
But many ordinary people showed their respects on the streets, at neighborhood markets and temples, kneeling before orange-robed monks to perform a Buddhist merit-making ritual.
“You see his achievements on TV sometimes, but now that he has passed we are learning about so many other things he has done for the country,” said Panicha Nuapho, 66, who traveled from a province 330 kilometers (205 miles) north of Bangkok to pay respects at Siriraj Hospital.
Bhumibol’s death at age 88 after a reign of seven decades sparked a national outpouring of grief and a year of mourning that will end with his cremation on Oct. 26. More than 12 million people have visited the palace throne hall where the king’s body has been kept for the past year.
The reverence Bhumibol inspired was in part the result of decades of work by palace officials to rebuild the prestige of the monarchy, which lost much of its influence after a 1932 coup ended absolute rule by Thai kings.
That effort built an aura of divinity around Bhumibol, who was protected from criticism by draconian lese majeste laws, but the king was also genuinely adored for his charitable work and as a symbol of stability in a nation frequently rocked by political turmoil.
The government has asked the public to observe moments of silence Friday at 3.52 p.m., the official time of Bhumibol’s death.
His son, King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarankun, knelt before a portrait of the late king at Dusit Palace in Bangkok on Friday morning and is expected to preside over ceremonies on Friday and Saturday.
This post originally appeared on Townhall