Six elephants, ranging from 4 to 23 years old, came from the Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal, Ayutthaya biggest local attraction. Jingle Bells played on the loud speaker as the elephants danced, stood on their hind legs, and performed other acrobatic stunts.
This year held special meaning, after devastating floods which took a toll on the city earlier this year.
Janet Bailey, First Grade Teacher, said, “Yes, we need this now to give some Christmas cheer because they’ve lost so much and I can notice it in the kids that I teach. They’re a little bit depressed so this is going to cheer them up and make them feel better. And I’m very happy they were able to come.”
Students and staff took turns feeding the elephants in return for their presents.
Sonying Boonjarean, 12-Year Old Student, said, “I’m very happy because I’ve been here for three years and I’ve never received a doll.”
The elephant is Thailand’s national symbol. Wildlife reserves are working to protect their population, which has declined due to deforestation and poaching.