SURIN — Banquets, grand shows and merit-making ceremonies were held Wednesday to mark the day celebrating the kingdom’s national animal.
Monks offered prayers, and tables of fruit and sugar cane were served to the iconic animals that are so deeply ingrained in Thai history they were also put to work reenacting important battles to entertain visitors.
Besides the usual celebrations, the national parks department seized the day to step up efforts to remove animal traps from forests, especially in protected areas. The head of the department said park officials rescued five elephants from traps in the three months leading up to March.
In Surin’s Tha Tum district, home to one of the largest elephant communities, elephants paraded and staged reenactments of great battles while religious events were attended by monks and mahouts alike. A joyous parade was held and food was offered to about 80 elephants.
About 60 elephants feasted at Lampang’s National Elephant Institute, where nine of the animals demonstrated offering alms to monks and novices.
Chiang Mai’s Maesa Elephant Camp held its 20th annual banquet for about 70 elephants and a religious ceremony led by the deputy provincial governor and Chinese consul general. The event was accompanied by a dance performance and seminar about Thai domestic elephants.
In Chonburi, 87 elephants were made to offer food to nine monks and received blessings at the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Sattahip district. Officials also claimed to hold “the world’s largest buffet” for participating elephants.
The province’s Khao Kheow Open Zoo also organized an event showing off famed elephant Saen Dao to dozens of visitors.