I saw this lovely video recently, about a vet who rescues baby elephants and - I kid you not - puts them to bed at night in makeshift pyjamas to comfort them!
It’s a really cute story!
And you know, this cute thing got me thinking about the elephants featured in culture and design generally, how these majestic animals show up in all sorts of places...
Like the elephants featured in the patterns of Rowan Charles’ pyjama designs, inspired by the rich culture of India.
Elephants have been revered for centuries by the people of India.
An amazing article I read from National Geographic recently, revealed the stories behind the ‘painted elephants’ of Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Once a year, the Elephant Festival attracts visitors far and wide to celebrate these magnificent animals, and the elephants are dressed in glorious colours, paint, bangles and drapes.
What a sight that must be.
This festival reflects the way elephants have paradoxically been worshipped - and also used as animal ‘slaves’ by man. Like the horse or the ox in other cultures, these creatures carry a totem-like status in the culture of India.
They are gods, represented by the elephant-headed deity, Ganesh, but also traditional ‘servants’ of humans.
A PBS article I found lists all the qualities of the elephant as a sacred animal to Hindus: Ganesh’s big head symbolises wisdom, his big ears endow him with the patience to listen.
He has a big belly to digest the best and worst of life. He rides on a tiny mouse, symbolising quick thinking and decisiveness.
All qualities we as humans might aspire to!
So special is the place of elephants in Indian culture that Indian elephant populations are known to be surviving better than that of other Asian elephants.
Outside India, too, elephants are honoured.
Buddhists believe white elephants carry special significance, whilst in Thailand a white elephant is the king’s property. In military manoeuvres, they were also fearsome war machines traditionally!
When you wear your cotton pyjamas, resplendent with prancing elephants, you’re not just wearing a pretty garment. You are sporting a thousand or more years’ worth of symbolism.
In Indian culture, a beautiful woman is said to walk with an elephant’s gait, so I hear!
When you put on your pyjamas tonight, you may even be blessed with dreams of graceful pachyderms.
Be proud of your elephant pattern pyjamas.
Who’d have thought a simple set of women's sleepwear would carry such symbolism?
Those aren’t ‘just elephants’ on your pyjamas...
We love this blog from Victoria Chadwick! Thank you so much for this insight. It gives us more excuses to adore the beautiful elephants on our Rowan Charles Pyjamas!