Thai elephants dressed as Santa Claus wore and handed out face masks among their usual gifts to children on Wednesday, in a uniquely 2020 edition of Thailand’s annual Ayutthaya Christmas event.
The face masks were a new addition to the parade held every year at the UNESCO World Heritage Site and former capital located about 80 kilometers north of Bangkok, and reflected a year in which the Covid-19 pandemic gripped the globe.
In recent days, Thailand has experienced a sudden surge in Covid-19 infections after having kept its epidemic under control since it became the first country outside of China to record a case.
Still, the pandemic has not dampened enthusiasm for Christmas in Thailand, where over 94 percent of the population is Buddhist, with Christianity making up just over 1 percent. Many Thais have adopted the holiday’s traditions, and the high-end malls of the capital are known for their extravagant displays and decorations throughout the festive season.
A visual story by epa’s Diego Azubel