|Buddhist monks participate in a Buddhism-customary ceremony in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Jan. 26, 2013. About 20,000 Buddhist monks gathered in front of Phnom Penh's Royal Palace on Saturday evening to chant and pray for the soul of late King Father Norodom Sihanouk on the 100th day since he died in October last year. (Xinhua/Sovannara)
PHNOM PENH, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- About 20,000 Buddhist monks gathered in front of Phnom Penh's Royal Palace on Saturday evening to chant and pray for the soul of late King Father Norodom Sihanouk on the 100th day since he died in October last year.
The Buddhism-customary ceremony was attended by Sihanouk's wife Queen Mother Norodom Monineath and his son King Norodom Sihamoni, along with tens of thousands of royal families, dignitaries and common people.
The monks, led by Venerable Tep Vong, Great Supreme Patriarch of the nation's Buddhist monks, had come from pagodas throughout the country.
At the event, King Norodom Sihamoni expressed sincere and heartfelt thanks to all monks and laypeople for holding a mass rally to mark the 100th day of his father's death.
Sihanouk died of illness at the age of 90 in Beijing on Oct. 15, last year. Currently, his body is lying in state at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh for the public to pay their last respect.
The body will be moved from the Palace to a custom-built crematorium at the Veal Preah Meru Square next to the Palace on Feb. 1 and kept for another three days at the site before it is cremated on Feb. 4.
The Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday released a list of foreign leaders who will attend Sihanouk's cremation.
Among them are Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Vice President of the Philippines Jejomar C. Binay, and Japan's Prince Akishino.
It is expected that at least 1.5 million people will attend the funeral, which will be safeguarded by some 11,000 security forces.