Thailand: Elephants dressed as Santa Clauses offer masks as a gift

Thailand is 98% Buddhist, but Christmas is celebrated as part of New Year's Eve celebrations

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Elephants in Thailand wearing Santa Claus hats and surgical masks distributed disinfectant gels, face masks and balloons to students at an annual school Christmas party, with the 15-year tradition in the predominantly Buddhist country adapting to its time. COVID-19.

"I'm so excited because an event like this only happens once a year and I think my school is the only place with Santa Claus elephants," said one young student.

The celebration at Jirasartwitthaya School in Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok, has been going on for over 15 years and has been particularly important in the last two years amid a pandemic COVID-19, distance learning and lockdowns.

"We know the students were stressed out because of the online lessons, so we hope this event will give them joy and encourage them to go back to school," said Lardthongtare Mipan, organizer of the Ayuttahaya Elephant Elephant Center.

Schools in Thailand closed again in April this year and vaccination for secondary school students began in October with a view to their reopening.

"I'm so glad I got a balloon from the elephant. "My heart is pounding," said student Byoon Graham, as other children took photos and selfies with elephants, Thailand's national animal.

Thailand is 98% Buddhist, but Christmas is celebrated as part of the New Year's celebrations.

Coronavirus cases in Thailand peaked in August this year, with 2,2 million infections reported in the country so far and a total of 21.501 deaths.

Source: RES-EAP