Yesterday, on the last day of the King-Father Norodom Sihanouk’s funeral, the whole capital of Phnom Penh stopped as the Cambodians paid their last respects to the King-Father. Nearly everyone was wearing black and white.
My husband and I didn’t dare venture to the riverside – where the Royal Palace and the Royal Cremation Pavillion are – since the day one of the funeral ceremony. While it is closed to the general public, there was a crowd of mourners there, day in and day out. Instead we drove outside the city last Saturday, to Oudong which was the ancient capital of Cambodia.
Along the way, we saw flags in half-mast lined up the roads. Some houses put up a small altar with a picture of the King-Father and candles and incense sticks in their yards. The local wats (temples), on the other hand, have set up a more elaborate altar open to anyone who wants to pray and pay their respects to the King-Father.
Here’s another altar outside a wat. Some people who could not travel to the city are encouraged to visit local wats such as above and below to offer their prayers for the King-Father.
The picture below shows a “ghost flag” flying over Wat Chey Oudom. The flag is in the shape of an “x-rayed body” and is usually displayed at the wats, or the house of the deceased, where a funeral ceremony is being held. For non-Buddhists, it’s like an RIP banner of sorts. In Buddhism, this “ghost flag” represents the soul moving on to the other world.
Here is a fellow blogger’s account of the funeral ceremony, LTO Cambodia. He was fortunate to be able to go and see the funeral proceedings.