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Thailand's Rescued Soccer Players Ordained as Buddhist Novices

With shaved heads and orange robes, teammates and their coach participate in a traditional ceremony.

Almost two weeks after 12 members of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach were boldly rescued from a cave in Northern Thailand — a rescue that captured the imagination of the world — many of the teammates are being ordained as Buddhist novices and monks. The coach and the young players (minus one, who is a Christian) will spend nine days at the local Wat Phra That Doi Tung temple for spiritual cleansing. Here, photos from the ceremony in Chiang Rai.

Wild Boars Coach Ekkapol Chantawong has his eyebrows shaved by a monk as part of the religious ritual on July 24. Chantawong will receive monk's orders while the boys (ages 11 to 16) will become Buddhist novices. PANUMAS SANGUANWONG/AFP/Getty Images Wild Boars Coach Ekkapol Chantawong has his eyebrows shaved by a monk as part of the religious ritual on July 24. Chantawong will receive monk's orders while the boys (ages 11 to 16) will become Buddhist novices. Monks cut the boys' hair during the official ceremony. In Buddhist teachings, the shaving of a monk's hair symbolizes detachment from material things and a move toward simplicity. PANUMAS SANGUANWONG/AFP/Getty Images Monks cut the boys' hair during the official ceremony. In Buddhist teachings, the shaving of a monk's hair symbolizes detachment from material things and a move toward simplicity.

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A newly shaven boy is bathed by a Buddhist monk. PANUMAS SANGUANWONG/AFP/Getty Images A newly shaven boy is bathed by a Buddhist monk. Four of the rescued boys clad in traditional orange robes. PANUMAS SANGUANWONG/AFP/Getty Images Four of the rescued boys clad in traditional orange robes. One of the newly ordained novices prays at the Wat Phra That Doi Tung temple. PANUMAS SANGUANWONG/AFP/Getty Images One of the newly ordained novices prays at the Wat Phra That Doi Tung temple. Coach Chantawong walks past a portrait of Saman Kunan, the 38-year-old former Thai Navy SEAL who died during the <a href="https://foto.gettyimages.com/news/weather/rescue-mission-to-save-thailands-soccer-team/?no-cache"target="_blank">rescue mission</a>. PANUMAS SANGUANWONG/AFP/Getty Images Coach Chantawong walks past a portrait of Saman Kunan, the 38-year-old former Thai Navy SEAL who died during the rescue mission. Devotees hand donations to team members during a religious procession at the temple. PANUMAS SANGUANWONG/AFP/Getty Images Devotees hand donations to team members during a religious procession at the temple. The boys and their coach walk in a religious procession during their ordination ceremony. PANUMAS SANGUANWONG/AFP/Getty Images The boys and their coach walk in a religious procession during their ordination ceremony. The newly ordained novices pose with monks at the Phra That Doi Wao Buddhist temple. PANUMAS SANGUANWONG/AFP/Getty Images The newly ordained novices pose with monks at the Phra That Doi Wao Buddhist temple.



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