May festivals: India’s Elephant Procession

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By Karen Hartwriter

Article originally published on 18th April 2013

Find out about the elephant procession in India and make an Indian metallic foil painting.

Pooram elephants

Image by Rajesh Kakkanatt, via Wikimedia Commons

Held in the Malayam month of Medam in April/May, in the city of Thrissur in the state of Kerala, the annual Pooram elephant procession is a remarkable sight. Dating from around 200 years ago, the parade consists of two teams of beautifully decorated elephants. A man then stands on the back of each elephant holding a parasol which is even taller than the elephant itself, while a second man waves a yak-tail fan. The men then exchange their parasols whilst standing on the elephants to the sounds of the temple orchestra. The night ends with a spectacular firework show.

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