Thai royal barge procession put off ‘due to water and weather conditions’

FILE PHOTO: Thai oarsmen row a royal barge during the Royal Barge Procession on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok November 9, 2012. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang/File Photo

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s royal barge procession in honor of King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s coronation this year has been postponed by seven weeks to Dec. 12, a senior government official said on Thursday.

The king had been scheduled take part on Oct. 24 in a procession of 52 golden barges shaped like swans and other mythical creatures, along 3.4 km (two miles) of the Chao Phraya river, which winds through the old quarter of the Thai capital, Bangkok.

The government said the weather and water conditions were not conducive for the event, in which 2,200 navy sailors row the barges.

The procession is part of a year-long celebration of King Vajiralongkorn’s coronation, which took place in May. It was originally scheduled to coincide with the end of the Buddhist Lent this month.

“The procession will still be as grand, with all 52 barges and joined by the king, but the date has been postponed because of the water currents,” Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam told reporters on Thursday.

“The king has decided that the procession will take place on Thursday, Dec. 12, instead.”

King Vajiralongkorn, 67, was crowned in May in three days of elaborate ceremonies. His father, the revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, died in 2016.

Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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