Thailand’s Elephants and The Elephant Day

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Elephant Day

Thailand’s Elephants and The Elephant Day

Thailand’s Elephants and The Elephant Day

Thailand’s Elephants and The Elephant Day

 

Gigantic beasts helping mankind build structures, move to battle and transport materials across distances, might remind you of a sci-fi movie. But in Thailand that is closer to reality than you might think. Elephants are the biggest mammals living on the surface of the earth, and have been the subject of art, stories and religions for as long as written history suggests. Thailand has a very dear relationship with these animals and they even have an official Elephant Day on March 13th. Today we are going through the significance of this species in Thai culture and also suggest activities to do for Elephant Day.

Elephant Day

Elephants in Buddhist Culture

 

The elephant has a prominent stature in Buddhist culture. Many Thai temples have statutes of elephants. In Buddhist legend it is believed that the mother of the Buddha was only able to conceive after having a dream featuring a white elephant. And that is why the white elephant has royal status in Thailand. Buddhism in Thailand also incorporates elements of Hindu beliefs and it is common to see shrines to Hindu gods and deities. Erawan (the elephant mount of Indra another prominent god) and Ganesh (the Hindu god with an elephant’s head) are often seen as statutes in temples of Thailand.

 

The White Elephants

 

There are some elephants which have a lighter skin tone, from light grey and some even are albino. These are the White elephants. They have a very special place in Thailand due to the myth of Buddha’s Birth. There are regular white elephants who by law belong to the king by birth, and there are royal white elephants that undergo a number of tests before the Bureau of the Royal Household appoints them as such. You might have heard of the elephant as a gift. The kings of old would give someone an Elephant as a gift in addition to some land so they could take care of it. But if the king wanted to pull a modern day equivalent of a prank on them or teach them a lesson, a white elephant would be given to the person with no land. So the person with the gift would have to care for the elephant for the rest of their life because a gift of a king couldn’t be used to work or sold.

 

What to do for Elephant Day

 

There are a number of elephant sanctuaries throughout Thailand, We encourage you to visit them during the elephant day. There are some that hold some kind of parade with the elephant. Other ones feature feeding sessions that you can go out to the elephants and feed them if you dare. And some of the venues let you wash and care for the elephants yourself. The Happy Elephant Home in Chiang Mai is a good choice to go to although Chiang Mai has many options for other ethical elephant sanctuaries, The Phang Nga Elephant Park would be a better choice if you want to support a small family business. And Finally if you are in Phuket , you can visit the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary which is a forest like park with many elephants that you can go ahead and hug.

 

Final Word

 

Elephant day is at March 13th and you can get a lot to see then for sure, but if you still have some time before that we encourage you to visit the Kathu Connection Slip-Fly while you are in Phuket. It has many awesome rides and attractions that you and your family can enjoy.