Nong Nooch elephants march into Thai New Year

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Nong Nooch Tropical Garden celebrated Songkran with Buddhist offerings, a parade and a birthday party for one of its 4-ton water-shooting elephants.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome opened the tourist attraction’s Songkran Festival April 13 with 19 elephants giving alms and dried foods to nine monks from area temples. Famous statues of Buddha from those same temples were also provided for both pachyderms and tourists to sprinkle water on.

A Songkran parade followed the ceremony with more than 40 elephants marching with tom-tom drummers and flower-covered floats.

The tourist attraction’s Songkran Festival began early April 13 with 19 elephants giving alms and dried foods to nine monks from area temples.The tourist attraction’s Songkran Festival began early April 13 with 19 elephants giving alms and dried foods to nine monks from area temples.

The celebration reached its finale with a birthday cake for Songkran, a 3-year-old elephant born on that day.

Songkran also saw the start of Nong Nooch’s Flower Blossom Festival, featuring elephant shows and a flower parade featuring beautiful Miss Songkran pageant contestants.

Elephants perform Rod Nam Dam Hua, bathing the Buddha statues.Elephants perform Rod Nam Dam Hua, bathing the Buddha statues.

Let the fun begin.  Those little squirt guns, no matter how big they seem, are no match for an elephant’s trunk.Let the fun begin.  Those little squirt guns, no matter how big they seem, are no match for an elephant’s trunk.