In Thailand, Santa Claus comes to town riding an elephant


Posted at Dec 22 2017 04:54 PM

An elephant dressed in a Santa Claus costume distributes a doll to students during Christmas celebrations at Jirasart school in Ayutthaya, Thailand, December 22, 2017. Athit Perawongmetha, Reuters

BANGKOK - A troupe of elephants bearing presents visited students in Thailand's old capital of Ayutthaya on Friday to spread Christmas cheer.

Four elephants, with their mahouts, were dressed in Santa Claus suits, arrived at Ayutthaya's Jirasartwitthaya School to hand out toys, balloons, and snacks to delighted children.

"I'm so glad today because elephants are coming to school. And they are giving presents", said nine-year-old Patcharamon Udomsanti.

The elephants also entertained the children with some dance moves, shaking their tails from side to side.

"It's so nice that they can share our festival. We share it with them, and the Thai share their festivals with us like Songkran," said Rita Laureys, a Belgian teaching English in Thailand, referring to the Thai new year.

Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country, with Christians making up only about 0.7 percent of the population, nevertheless, many people enjoy Christmas festivities.