|Millions of people show signs of respect to the late |
King Norodom Sihanouk. In this picture, T-shirts
are printed with the king's face.
His remains was greeted by more than one million loyal subjects who lined the streets in reverential silence to witness the return of the country’s much-loved monarch, reports Cambodia Daily.
“Cambodians of all ages stood silently on the roadside as the King Father, and the man who earned the country its independence in 1953, was brought to the Royal Palace, where his body will lie in state for at least three months,” the news said.
The last kingly funeral took place in 1960, after Sihanouk’s father, King Surawarit died in 1960, just five years after ascending to the throne.
The King Father had made it known that he wanted a “quiet affair, with a quick cremation.” However, that would be a far cry from what is already happening, as hundreds of thousands of mourners are lining the streets after his return to make sure his passing would not be low key.
It has been a long held Cambodian tradition to keep a king’s body in state for several of months, during which prayers are said for the dead king, a period that serves both practical and spiritual purposes, said Ang Choulean, archeology faculty at the Royal University of Fine Arts.
The late King’s face is covered with a golden mask and while his body is nearing cremation date, always after a 100-day ceremony, it will be placed inside a golden urn. Tradition dictates that the king’s body will have to be seated upright in the urn, which is about 3 meters high, in the fetal position, to symbolize rebirth.