Thais organized a mass gathering on a Bangkok bridge, which was named after the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, to celebrate the king's birthday on Monday that also marks the national day of Thailand.
This day had always been an auspicious moment for the people as the monarch used to deliver key speeches offering social and sometimes distinctly political guidance to the nation which has seen years of coups and instability.
On Oct 13, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-reigning monarch, passed away in a hospital at the age of 88. He reigned for seven decades after ascending the throne in 1946 and his loss was deeply mourned in Thailand. "I still feel lonely and empty as we don't have him anymore," a visibly moved Yaowana Kaewpud, one of the mourners on the bridge, told AFP.
The 47-year-old Kaewpud had travelled all the way from the outskirts of Bangkok along with her daughters to attend the dawn ceremony on Monday.
The late King was revered as the Father of the Nation. Many subjects of his largely Buddhist kingdom regarded him as almost divine. The Thais gave him a god-like status. He was also shielded from any sort of criticism or scrutiny inside the kingdom by a strict lese majeste law forcing subjects and the media to heavily self-censor.
The king's death is a delicate transition for both the monarchy and its backers in the military elite. Bhumibol's reign saw breakneck development in the country and at the same time entrenched disparity between a Bangkok-centric elite and the rural poor.
In Thailand, the monarchy is highly regarded as "a solid institution that has played a key role in unifying Thais from all walks of life."
On Thursday, the 64-year-old crown prince, now King Maha Vajiralongkorn, ascended the throne after a seven week hiatus in which he asked to be allowed time to mourn his father. However, compared to his father, it is quite clear that while Bhumibol was widely revered, his son has not achieved the same level of popularity yet.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn is comparatively unknown to ordinary Thais as he spent most of his life outside his kingdom. He was not seen in interviews for years.