Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A Royal Cambodian Coronation



A Royal Cambodian Coronation

A Royal Cambodian Coronation

The Royal coronation of a Cambodian monarch can take place several days, months or

even years after the election of the sovereign. In effect, the King assumes functions

immediately after his election by the Crown Council and the coronation is essentially

a religious and symbolic ceremony designed to bring divine blessings upon the elected

monarch.

The coronation of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Baromneath Norodom Sihamoni

will be simple, very much like that of his august father, His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech

Preah Norodom Sihanouk Varman, held on September 23, 1993. However, the spirit and

unique character of the old sumptuous coronations of previous kings of Cambodia will

not be missing from the traditional ceremony to be held on October 29, 2004.

In the past, following the election of the new king, the court astrologers were requested

to determine the most appropriate date for the ceremony of the coronation. In accordance

with the Kram Preah Reachea Prapdaphisek (Law on the Coronation of Kings, promulgated

in the second half of the 18th century) the appropriate date was chosen and the preparations

for the event began.

The Appisek, or Ceremonial Bath

Following seven days of rites and ceremonies performed by the Bakus of the court,

during which the fire is blessed and water to be used for the ceremony purified,

the sovereign was solemnly presented to the people in the Throne Hall. A special,

white, bathing pavilion has been prepared in front of the Throne Hall; the sovereign

took off his ceremonial robes and exchanged them for a light, white, bathing robe.

The Chiefs of the Buddhist Orders then proceeded to drop on the sovereign's head

the water previously purified and consecrated. A light shower was then released from

a canopy above through the petals of a golden lotus, giving celestial significance

to the shower.

While the ceremonial bath was in progress the Bakus play their ceremonial music.

The sovereign then dressed in his ceremonial robes and addressed the Buddhist monks

present to whom he declared that he is the servant and protector of Buddhism and

that he will always be loyal to Buddhism.

The Buddhist ritual having come to an end, the Buddhist monks withdrew to allow a

Brahmanic ceremony to take place.

The Brahmanic Consecration

Three Bakus led the sovereign to the audience hall within the Throne Hall and asked

him to sit on the elevated throne, a symbolic representation of Mount Meru. The King

turned to each of the eight principal directions of the living space, represented

by a Brahman priest and then drank from a sea shell, washed his face with the remainder

of the water and trumpeted the shell.

The sovereign then welcomed in his arms a statue of Shiva and one of Vishnu and swore

in front of the Brahmanic idols kept in the palace to maintain the ancient national

traditions. The King then received his Kingdom: earth, waters, mountains and forests

which the Chief Baku presented to him on behalf of his people.

The Chief Baku then placed on the sovereign's head the crown, the Mokot, and the

King then adjusted a pair of golden slippers and took possession of the other items

of his regalia by touching them.

The last part of the Brahmanic ritual ended with the Sovereign coming down from the

elevated throne and sitting on the ordinary throne and receiving the unction with

sacred oil from the Chief Baku.

The Pradakshina, or Procession of the Nobles

The last part of the Coronation ceremony is the Pradakshina. The Ladies of the Court,

the princes and princesses, the mandarins and nobles with lit candles circulated

around the throne three times in such a way that their right shoulder was always

presented to the new sovereign.

Just before the end of the ceremony, the mandarins and other senior Court officials

laid down in front of the throne the insignia of their functions which the master

of the kingdom would return the following morning, thus giving them a new mandate

to continue in their functions.

The ceremony ended with the King travelling by a Royal Cortege along the principal

avenues of the capital, where the people have their first contact with their new

sovereign.

The consecration of the Queen used to be held in private. Normally it took place

in the presence only of the ladies of the Court and with their assistants. After

three days of prayers by Buddhist monks, the Queen received the lustral water and

sacred oil from the King.

In 1993, the ceremony was held in public and with minimum fanfare in accordance with

the wishes of the King and Queen.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,