Sandalwood flowers have been used in cremation ceremonies in Thailand since olden days, as it is believed that the fragrance of sandalwood will lead the souls of the deceased to heaven. In the Royal Cremation of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the traditional sandalwood flowers, to be used by His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun and members of the Royal Family, have been made from fragrant sandalwood trees taken from the Kui Buri National Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan.
His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun has ordered the organizing of a project for members of the public who wish to learn how to make cremation sandalwood flowers, which will then be offered during the Royal Cremation Ceremony for His Majesty King Bhumibol. There are seven types of sandalwood flowers for this ceremony, each type with a special meaning:
1. The daffodil, known in Thai as dararat, was His Majesty King Bhumibol’s favorite flower. The late King often presented this flower to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit when they stayed in Switzerland. Dararat is popularly offered to a loved one, as it signifies honor, bravery, and hope. Dara means star and rat is a precious gem;
2. The rose represents true love, as well as the loyalty of the people toward His Majesty King Bhumibol;
3. The cotton rose, known in Thai as dok phuttan, represents stability and fertility. The Chinese regard it as an auspicious flower. The cotton rose may turn three colors on the same day, which is analogous to the cycle of life;
4. The white lily represents honesty and the loyalty of the people toward King Bhumibol;
5. The orchid is a symbol of stability, love, and grace, representing the benevolence of His Majesty the late King in performing his numerous royal activities; 6. Chabathip is a newly created flower representing demise and divinity. It is meant to pay a final tribute to His Majesty King Bhumibol, who has won a permanent place in the Thai people’s hearts;
7. Chabanu represents the heartfelt condolences of the people from all walks of life. It is a symbol of all Thai hearts in paying their final tributes to the late King in the Royal Cremation Ceremony.