Two weeks after their dramatic rescue from a cave in northern Thailand, the Thai Cave boys will be ordained as novice Buddhist monks in a ceremony that will be held today.
The eleven players on the Wild Boars soccer team had their heads shaved, donned simple white robes and offered prayers on Tuesday at Wat Pha That Doi Wao, a temple in Chiang Rai province, the Associated Press reports.
The boys plan to join local temples as novices for nine days starting on Wednesday, to give thanks for their safety and to honor a volunteer diver who died during the long rescue effort. Their time in the temples will include meditating, praying, and performing charitable deeds.
The boys’ 25-year-old coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, will be ordained as a monk since he has already lived as a Buddhist novice for a decade.
On Tuesday, the Wild Boars team members lit candles and placed sweet drinks and fruit in front of Buddhist statues. Hundreds of well-wishers attended the ceremonies, which were broadcast live on Facebook by local authorities.
“They should spend time in a monastery. It’s for their protection,” Seewad Sompiangjai, grandfather of one of the boys, told the BBC. “It’s like they died but now have been reborn.”