Christmas In Thailand: 2021, Part Three

Merry Christmas! At last, the day is here. And it is HOT in southern Thailand, as expected. I slept in somewhat later than my usual early morning awakenings and spent some time on household chores. My big plan for today is to order a food delivery (lunch or early dinner?) and then to wander around the Old Town a bit in the evening. I also have a number of digital tasks to accomplish but I may procrastinate until tomorrow night.

Yesterday, my new school put on an extravagant Christmas celebration for its students and teachers. The presentations were on a level normally seen in the big international schools rather than the (much poorer) Thai government schools such as this one. It is a huge school but I estimate that between a third and a half of the more than 6000 students are still at home hunkered down against the pandemic. Those that braved the vaccination requirements and temperature checks at the main gate got quite a show.

As mentioned in last night’s “Daily Phuket” posting, one of my agency’s teachers was the designated Santa and he made his grand entrance riding a motorcycle accompanied by Santy, the bearded one’s Thai mistress. Following an hour-and-a-half morning assembly (which consisted of a number of singalongs and Christmas-related quizzes), my group of teachers adjourned to one of the meeting halls where we spent the next three hours playing games with rotating classes of kids.

After lunch, I taught two classes but they were largely holiday-based as well. My P1/5 class spontaneously broke into “Jingle Bells” whenever I mentioned bells or sleighs. It was an enjoyable day albeit long, hot and sweaty. I am glad we can put the Yuletide cheer behind us for another year. Things here will now gear up for the first of three New Year celebrations that Thailand breaks for which are a much bigger deal than Christmas is. There will probably be some sort of school activity for Thai Children’s Day (the second Saturday in January) and Lunar New Year is followed rapidly by Valentine’s Day (or “sticker day” in Thai schools). The Phuket Old Town Festival is held in conjunction with the Lunar New Year festivities.

Anyway, here is a small selection of photos from my school’s Christmas Eve events.

P1 MEP students dressed as elves
Scary Santa mask which I decided not to wear this year
Thinking about Christmas food
Students heading to the front assembly area. The school is so large that there are three gathering points for the morning assembly/flag ceremony.
Impossible to practice the required social distancing. I think there were about 2,000 students in this area, sitting for nearly two hours under the brutal Thai sun.
The sleigh reminded me of a ship with the Christmas tree acting as the bowsprit or figurehead
She seems pretty serious about her position on the sleigh
The parade was led by the M1 MEP elves with their balloons
About ready to start…
Waiting for Santa Claus
The procession begins!
Here comes Santa Claus and Santy
Almost there!
At last, we were able to adjourn to the (air-conditioned!) meeting hall…
Still a lot of red hats in my afternoon classes. This is P4/7.
Here are some of the kids in P1/5.
I don’t know what the certificates are for; the kids get a lot of these through the school year.

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