Elephant Santas deliver Christmas presents at Thai school

An elephant dressed in a Santa Claus costume performs in front of students at Jirasartwitthaya school during Christmas celebrations in Thailand on Dec 23, 2019.
An elephant dressed in a Santa Claus costume performs in front of students at Jirasartwitthaya school during Christmas celebrations in Thailand on Dec 23, 2019.PHOTO: AP
An elephant and his Mahout dressed as Santa Claus perform after distributing presents to pupils during Christmas celebrations at a school in Thailand on Dec 23, 2019.
An elephant and his Mahout dressed as Santa Claus perform after distributing presents to pupils during Christmas celebrations at a school in Thailand on Dec 23, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
An elephant dressed as Santa Claus helps distribute presents to students during Christmas celebrations at a school in Thailand on Dec 23, 2019.
An elephant dressed as Santa Claus helps distribute presents to students during Christmas celebrations at a school in Thailand on Dec 23, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
An elephant dressed as Santa Claus helps distribute presents to students during Christmas celebrations at a school in Thailand on Dec 23, 2019.
An elephant dressed as Santa Claus helps distribute presents to students during Christmas celebrations at a school in Thailand on Dec 23, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
An elephant dressed in a Santa Claus costume performs during a gift presentation to schoolchildren during Christmas celebrations in Thailand on Dec 23, 2019.
An elephant dressed in a Santa Claus costume performs during a gift presentation to schoolchildren during Christmas celebrations in Thailand on Dec 23, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

AYUTTHAYA (REUTERS) - Elephants dressed as Santa Claus gave out presents and candy to students in Thailand in an annual Christmas tradition in the mostly Buddhist country.

The Christmas celebration at the Jirasartwitthaya school in Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok, has run for 15 years.

This year, four elephants and their mahouts, also wearing Santa hats, visited the school and gave away presents to the students, said Mr Lardthongtare Meepan, owner of the Ayuttahaya Elephant Palace, an elephant camp.

"The highlight is not only handing out presents, but also students and elephants are forming a Christmas tree together," he said.

The elephants danced and showed off tricks to students.

"I'm very happy to see them and they are very cute. I love elephants because it dances very cute," says Patcharamon Sukpiromsunti, a primary school student.

The elephant is Thailand's national animal and appears throughout history and literature.

"It makes me feel like I have a lot of friends. The elephants handing out candies, toys, dolls and so many other things," student Pasitha Sithapak said.

Thailand is 98 per cent Buddhist, but celebrates Christmas as part of the year-end holiday season.