Santa Claus comes to town riding an elephant in Thailand

An elephant dressed in a Santa Claus costume distributing a doll to students during Christmas celebrations at Jirasartwitthaya School in Ayutthaya, Thailand, on Dec 22, 2017.
An elephant dressed in a Santa Claus costume distributing a doll to students during Christmas celebrations at Jirasartwitthaya School in Ayutthaya, Thailand, on Dec 22, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - A troupe of elephants bearing presents visited students in Thailand's old capital of Ayutthaya on Friday (Dec 22) to spread Christmas cheer.

Four elephants and their mahouts 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 Thais share their festivals with us, like Songkran," said Ms 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 per cent of the population. Nevertheless, many people enjoy Christmas festivities.