Thai elephant Santas hand out face masks with Christmas gifts

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

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