The Thai soccer team and their coach who were trapped in a cave for more than two weeks before being rescued had their heads shaved Tuesday while they preparing for Buddhist ordination.
Eleven of the 12 players and their coach prayed at ancient relics and offered drinks and desserts to spirits at a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai. The 12th team member, Adul Sam-on, did not participate in the ordination because he is Christian and not buddhist.
The boys will be ordained to become Buddhist novices, while the coach will be ordained as a monk, Chiang Rai province Gov. Parchon Pratsakul said. The ceremony will take place Wednesday.
Those who will be ordained in the ceremony will dedicate their act of entering the monkhood to Saman Kunan, the former Thai Navy SEAL who died volunteering to help rescue the boys in the cave, said Praphun Khomjoi, chief of Chiang Rai’s Buddhism office.
“Ordinations are supposed to give us peace of mind,” Sangiemjit Wongsukchan, the mother of Ekarat Wongsukchan, 14, one of the boys who was trapped in the cave, said. “We can only do this for nine days because then he will have to go back to study and prepare for exams. Back to his normal life.”
The ordainment ceremony will take place at another temple on a Chiang Rai mountaintop. The group will then head to the Wat Pha That Doi Wao temple near the Thai border to reside for more than a week.
Buddhist males in Thailand are traditionally expected eo enter the monkhood at some point in their lives to show gratitude, often towards their parents.
"Ordinations are supposed to give us peace of mind," said Sangiemjit Wongsukchan, the mother of Ekarat Wongsukchan, 14, who was one of the trapped boys.
"We can only do this for nine days then he will have to go back to study and prepare for exams. Back to his normal life."
The boys and their coach were released from the hospital last Wednesday. The team became trapped inside a cave on June 23 and were found on July 2. They were then all rescued in a daring operation on July 10.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.