Christmas is not a holiday in predominantly Buddhist Thailand, and its palm trees outnumber pines, but the country still set a world record with its holiday spirit.
One of the country’s largest shopping malls arranged a publicity stunt involving 852 schoolchildren dressed in green and red hoodies to break the Guinness World Record for the largest human Christmas tree. They outdid a German record of 672 participants in 2011.
To the relief of parents, and the chagrin of a few teenagers, the children were not hoisted onto a human pyramid shaped like a conifer.
It was more an exercise in crowd control, grouping the assembled 6- to 15-year-olds into a tree-like formation on the ground.
“I kind of thought we’d get to stand on each other’s shoulders,” said 13-year-old Nattakit Liewkulnattana. Like most participants at the event, he doesn’t celebrate Christmas. He wasn’t sure whose birthday the holiday marks (“Santa Claus?”) but was excited to take part in a world record, and maybe get something in return.
“I want presents!” the teen said. All participants got to keep their hoodies.
Guinness representative Fortuna Burke certified the feat, counting on a clicker as children filed onto an outdoor verandah at Siam Paragon mall, the event’s organizer. Once in place, the children waved as a drone flew overhead to capture aerial images.
Although Christmas does not appear on Thai calendars and is a regular workday, hotels and shopping malls decorate starting in mid-November for what is a big shopping season during Thailand’s peak tourism months.
Thais also set other off-beat records this year. On Valentine’s Day, a couple set a record for longest kiss (58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds). Also in February, nearly 4,483 people swung hula hoops for seven minutes, a record for the most people dancing with hula hoops simultaneously in one place.