AYUTTHAYA(THAILAND) – Central province of Ayutthaya in Thailand was in for a surprise when Santa Claus decided to make his Christmas visit special by riding on elephant. The visit was aimed at raising awareness about the threat of the coronavirus.
Santas sat atop elephants adorned in tinsel and trunk masks and distributed protective masks in baskets to schoolchildren, motorcyclists and drivers passing by on Wednesday.
“They are funny and they are lovely. I think they are so cute,” said elementary student Laksaporn Loetpiriyakamol.
The elephants year-end visits to school in the area has been a ritual for two decades, where kids are given gifts like candy and toys using their trunk.
This year, the pachyderms stood outside the schools as part of the COVID protocol and used their trunks to offer the face masks in baskets instead.
“I’m a little bit excited and sad because the elephants can’t go into the school,” said Pacharamon Sukphiromsanti, 12, who came out to greet the elephants at the gates.
“These four elephants want to represent Thai Santa Claus to encourage people to wear masks, wash their hands and follow government instructions,” said Itthi Pankhawlamai, who manages a local elephant park.