BANGKOK • Eleven boys from a football team rescued from a flooded Thai cave - in a drama that gripped global audiences - were ordained as Buddhist novices yesterday at a temple in Chiang Rai, in memory of a volunteer diver who died during their rescue.
The boys and their 25-year-old coach, Mr Ekapol Chanthawong, arrived at the Wat Phra That Doi Tung temple in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district dressed in white robes amid light rain and fog.
The group listened to Buddhist chants before they were given saffron robes to wear during an emotionally charged ceremony that was broadcast live on Facebook by the local authorities.
The boys had their hair shaved a day earlier in preparation to become novice Buddhist monks.
"Their lives will change now. This experience will help them to appreciate their parents and give them a taste of Dhamma (universal truth)," Mr Manit Prakobkit, vice-chairman of the Mae Sai Cultural Council, told local media.
The boys and their coach will live for nine days at a Buddhist temple and adhere to the teachings and precepts of Buddhism, which is Thailand's main religion.
One of the boys, 14-year-old Adul Sam-on, is a Christian and was not ordained.