A Christmas tradition: Santa elephants at school

PHOTO: Santa elephants perform for excited school children in a Thai tradition. (via Nation)

In central Thailand, school children were thrilled with a visit from a very Thai version of Santa Claus. The school kids were thrilled as the group of elephant trainers dressed as Santa led their elephants to greet the children and distribute Christmas gifts yesterday.

The uniquely Thai experience saw nearly 2,000 children receive presents of toys, dolls, balloons, and candies, all handed out by gentle, friendly elephants. After using their trunks to hand children all the sweets and gifts, the elephants put on a show by dancing to music to the delight of the student onlookers.

One student describe the elephants as cute and many others expressed surprise at the holiday treat and wishes that this could happen every year, or even more frequently. In fact, it’s a tradition that has been taking place each year in the province for the last two decades. The school is located in the central province of Ayutthaya, where elephants have visited various schools in the area as a Christmas surprise each year.

Last year, even Covid-19 couldn’t stop the sweet elephant school visit tradition that gives such holiday cheer to young children. Elephants adorned in festive Santa hats as well as giant surgical masks passed out gifts of face masks, hand gel, and balloons.

Even though Thailand is 98% Buddhist and doesn’t officially observe the Christmas holiday, many still enjoy a Christmas celebration to end the year, especially school kids and, perhaps, elephants.

Central Thailand NewsEvents

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.