2014 Snapshots

Tuesday, October 6

White Elephants

Last week I mentioned  white elephants in my “white” corner view post.  And today I wanted to share a little about them.

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I understand that to the Americans a white elephant is a metaphor for an encumbrance, a worthless possession.  I assume that is where the game “white elephant” comes from.  I remember playing this game while in the US  where  gifts you got could be taken away from you if someone else liked it.  It was new to me, but a lot of fun. 

Well here in Thailand and to the Thai people white elephants are adored and respected. They’re  important to the culture and the way of life.  They are also  a symbol of both power and peace.  But above all these animals are deeply connected to the King.

Thai traditions teach us that these elephants have an important role in the workings of the kingdom.  It’s also believed that this noble beast exemplifies a kings honor and glory. 

It’s rumored that the current king has 11 “white elephants” in his possession.  Making him the most successful King.  I think it’s also a great way to protect this rare species.

There is so much more about these clever beasts but for now, if you plan on buying elephant ornaments as a souvenirs from Thailand make sure it’s trunk is up. 

This means good luck!

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p.s – please do come back tomorrow for Corner View.  This weeks theme: A Typical Souvenir.

2 comments:

Jewel said...

I love elephants! I have an extensive collection from Africa, Cambodia, the Philippines, Ecuador, and the States. Most have their trunks up, but none are white. I'll be sure to make that my next purchase!

Thom said...

Thank you for sharing this. Great photos and I'm so glad you brought up what it actually means there and not just what we here in the USA think about it. Wonderful my friend :)

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