Mae Sai, Thailand - The young soccer teammates and their coach who were rescued after being trapped in a cave in northern Thailand have been ordained at a Buddhist temple, a merit-making activity to show thanks for their rescue.
The 11 boys, ages 11 to 16, became Buddhist novices in a Wednesday ceremony, while their 25-year-old coach was ordained as a monk. One boy did not participate because he isn't Buddhist.
The group prepared for their ordinations on Tuesday with ceremonies that included shaving their heads.
Buddhist males in Thailand are traditionally expected to enter the monkhood at some point in their lives. A major reason for the boys to make the gesture was to give thanks for the former Thai navy SEAL who died while taking part in the operation to rescue them.
* Receive IOL's top stories via Whatsapp by sending your name to 0745573535.