Thousands of hill tribe people gather in Bangkok to perform traditional rituals in tribute to Royal Father

More than 4,000 minority hill tribe people from Thailand's northern and western hills gathered in Bangkok yesterday to perform their traditional rituals as a tribute to His Majesty late King Bhumibol Adulyadej who they said has made their lives changed from landless people to owning their own land to live and farm.

As the traditional rituals were performed and ritual musics were played, many of the hill tribe people sobbed in tears for the loss of their beloved King who said he cared for them as if they were his children.

The over 4,000 hill tribe people from various ethnic groups arrived before dawn yesterday and gathered at Saranrom Park. Although they wore different costumes and dialects, but they came with one strong determination that they are united to pay tribute to the beloved king.

The traditional holy rituals engaged music from bamboo reed mouth organs and fire.

Each tribe performed it's unique riten to bid farewell to the late King and to send him to heaven.

Many hilltribe people who included the younger and the aged sobbed intears as soon as the sound of the reed mouth organs began.

They remembered the hardship of their Royal Father in travelling far away to the remote areas on different terrains on the mountains to meet his subjects, the hill tribe peoples and supported them to start sustainable farming of temperate crops in substitution for growing opium poppies.

But they said what the King had made the most significance of all for them, was to help them get the Thai nationality.

A hill tribe son of a former village headman on Doi Pui mountain Charnwit Fuengfukitchakan said all hill tribe people came today with overwhelmingly deep gratitude for the late King's kindness and his contributions.

The King gave them all textbooks and school uniforms and education.

All have high hope that their holy rituals were the most valuable things they could do to show their gratitude to all of the late King's dedication that have helped improve their quality of life on the mountain, he added.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)