On the morning of Saturday the 5th of August, the children and students at the Father Ray Foundation gathered together to mark the opening of Father Ray Month.
It was in August 2003 that the founder of the Foundation, Father Ray Brennan, passed away and each year the children get together to remember and celebrate the life of the man many had never met. Many were not born when he was alive, and yet they all know who he is.
August the 5th was also a special day as the children welcomed representatives from the Royal Thai Navy who arrived to take part in two activities in honour of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the late King of Thailand.
Several thousand marigold seeds were planted, with the hope that they will all be in bloom in time for the funeral of Thailand’s beloved late monarch.
When the funeral takes place on October the 26th, the whole nation will be a sea of yellow as people across the country will be growing marigolds, an auspicious flower for followers of Buddhism. The marigold is a bright yellow flower and yellow was the colour most associated with Thailand’s longest reigning sovereign.
Once the planting was complete the children and students, together with the workers and foreign volunteers, created daffodils out of sandalwood.
Anyone who has ever been to a Buddhist funeral will have been given flowers made from sandalwood which is used as a symbol to start the cremation fire.
Between now and the 19th of August the children are determined to make 9,999 sandalwood daffodils.
However, the whole country is also busy making flowers. The Correction Department has announced that it is planning to make one million, while shopping malls throughout the Kingdom have set up special areas where people shopping can spend time making the daffodils; the daffodil was chosen as it was the flower the late king used to give to his wife, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.
Nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine may seem a lot, but by October they will be added to the tens of millions that are expected to be produced.