Thai couples marry on elephants for Valentine's Day

February 15, 2024 10:56 am

[Source: Reuters]

Reflecting Thailand’s long association with the majestic beasts, couples riding elephants wearing traditional dress chose this Valentine’s Day to exchange their vows in a mass wedding featuring the pachyderms.

“The ceremony is sacred which makes everyone want to have a wedding atop of the elephants,” said one of the brides, 36-year-old Narumon Komgpanoy.

“Elephants are considered household and city companions, as well as a symbol of national prosperity,” she said.

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The parade of elephants carrying nine couples marched slowly through the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Chonburi province, about a two hour drive south of the capital Bangkok.

With dancers in traditional costumes leading the procession, the couples rode their elephants up to a local district official, also sat on an elephant, who oversaw the signing of the marriage licenses.

The elephant is Thailand’s national animal and for a time a white elephant, a symbol of good fortune, was featured on the Thai flag.

“I feel very happy. Actually, today is the day of love, so I feel good about obtaining the marriage license with my wife,” said one of the grooms, Jirat Somprasung, 36.